Hoosier lawmakers urged to support foster families

A bill at the Indiana statehouse could help foster kids in the Hoosier State.

Posted: Feb. 18, 2019 8:31 AM
Updated: Feb. 18, 2019 7:35 PM

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WTHI) - A bill at the Indiana statehouse could help foster kids in the Hoosier State.

The Family and Children Services Senate Committee will be hearing Senate Bill 398 Monday. It's a subsidy bill to help parents that adopt foster children. It's co-authored by Republican Senator Jon Ford.

Local foster mom and advocate, Kristi Cundiff, says this bill can have a huge impact on Hoosier families.

Cundiff explains, "We have a family right here in the Wabash Valley that adopted their great nephew, and was receiving $42 dollars a day for a subsidy, and they were offered a dollar a day, take it or leave it. And so, they were actually getting more a day than what they were getting per month."

Cundiff says Senate Bill 398 would set a base subsidy rate for an adopted child at half of their foster amount. So in Cundiff's example, the family would get at least $21 dollars a day to continue the child's care after adoption. 

Another move at the state level to help Indiana foster children could also be approved. Advocates will be pushing for a Summer Study Session.

The study would look into the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths or “CANS” score. It's what Cundiff says the Department of Child Services uses to decide how much foster parents are subsidized for care of their child. She says the current way of doing things isn't serving families very well.

Cundiff shares, "The CANS assessment was not designed for that. The CANS assessment is a mental health care evaluation, not a financial tool to put a price tag on how much it takes to care, what it costs to take care of the children."

Cundiff says by lawmakers acting in favor of these two measures, it can greatly help reduce hardships that foster families face. It also helps to promote adoptions and permanency within the foster system.

To follow the progress of Senate Bill 398, click here.

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