Updated: Thursday, 10 Nov 2011, 7:15 PM EST
Published : Thursday, 10 Nov 2011, 7:15 PM EST
INDIANAPOLIS (WTHI) - Right now, there are nearly a quarter of a million foster children in the U.S. waiting to be adopted; waiting to reach that ultimate goal of a forever family.
But, adoption subsidies from the state of Indiana to help take care of those kids financially are slipping and some say fewer children will get taken in because of this money mess.
Josh Krowll works for the North American Council on Adoptable Children out of Minnesota but on this day he's speaking to adoptive parents from all over the state of Indiana.
Parents who have adopted children from foster care, parents who expected a daily cash subsidy to help care for those kids and parents who are no longer getting that financial help.
Adoption subsidies have been the norm for anyone who adopts a child anywhere in the U.S.
When you adopt a child from foster care, you get a daily payment from the state to help care for that child.
Since 2009 the state of Indiana stopped making that payment. In fact, Indiana is the only state in the country putting those children on a wait list for the money. That's why Krowll came to the Hoosier state, to educate parents about the problem and to talk to state leaders about the concerns.
“My concern is that they may start losing families. That children may languish in care as families say we need this support and children may be losing out on permanency," said Krowll.
But the state department of child services says they are supporting adoptive families, not with cash but with healthcare help.
“What is the most important item a family needs? What we heard was Medicaid or medical expenses," said John Ryan.
John Ryan is Chief of Staff at DCS in Indianapolis. He says children are being adopted in Indiana in near record numbers and those adoptions, he says, are out of love not for money.
But adoption advocates, like Krowll, say medical help alone is not enough and putting families on a wait list for adoption money is dangerous.
It's so damaging for the child and the family for that to happen. It's much better for families to be supported,” said Krowll.
Research shows adoptions may actually save the state money.
Each dollar spent on an adoption from foster care reportedly saves about $3 in public and private costs.
Regardless, the state says the wait list for financial help will likely continue until the year 2018.
In the meantime, the ACLU just weeks ago filed a lawsuit against the state asking that families get what's called an Administrative Fair Hearing Review.
Advocates say a victory would give foster families a voice negotiating a subsidy and might help put an end to this money mess.
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