Indiana Senator hopes to establish foster parent "Bill of Rights"

Senator Jon Ford says right now, foster parents have no voice in several important matters.

Posted: Dec. 27, 2017 2:23 PM
Updated: Dec. 27, 2017 6:39 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - An Indiana State Senator will carry a bill at the Statehouse next session that would establish a "bill of rights" for foster parents in the state. Senator Jon Ford says, right now, foster parents in Indiana don't have a voice. 

Ford says foster parent "Bill of Rights" is a growing trend here in the United States.

He says you'll find several states in the country who already have these in place. Ford's description of the bill is straight-forward; it will require DCS to meet with foster parents from around Indiana and discuss what the bill of rights will include.

"That's everytyhing from treating the parents with dignity and trust, and that they do have a role in the care of children," Ford told News 10 in a recent interview. He also said this bill of rights will give foster parents the right to know more about the medical history of their foster children, and they'll be able to make medical decisions on their behalf.

Kristi Cundiff, the founder and CEO of the Indiana Foster and Adoptive Parents Resources and Advocacy Group (IFAAP) spoke to News 10 to offer her perspective on how this bill could help foster families. 

"It also reaches out and creates a mutual relationship between Indiana DCS and the foster parents of Indiana," Cundiff. 

She also pointed out the bill notifies foster parents when court proceedings involving their foster kids will take place.

"I think a foster parent's voice in court is just as important as the voice of a CASA or the voice of a family case worker," Cundiff told us. "After all, a foster parent spends the most time with a foster child."

Ford hopes the bill will pass during the upcoming "short session" of the General Assembly, with this becoming law July 1st.

For more information on IFAAP, click here.

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