INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Gov. Eric Holcomb and the state Department of Child Services launched a new statewide campaign just a few hours ago to find more foster parents.
Child Services desperately needs foster parents. On Thursday, the department used some star power at Lucas Oil Stadium to recruit more people. He spent years on the field and led the Indianapolis Colts to Super Bowl victory in 2007, but former head coach Tony Dungy now hopes to convince more people to be like him and his wife to become foster parents.
The Dungys have one foster child and seven adopted children.
Dungy, a spokesperson for All Pro Dad, said, “For my wife and I, we felt like God has blessed us with space and time and ability to do it. We felt like we could be part of the solution.”
The nonprofit Family First-All Pro Dad joined Holcomb and Child Services to launch a new TV, radio, social media and marketing campaign designed to find people willing to be foster parents.
“We’ve got kids who are not in great situations,” Dungy said. “They just need a safe loving place to be and to grow up. Things that we take for granted.”
Joshua Christian understands that too well. The 21-year-old spent most of his life in the foster care system, beginning at age 2, but thankfully he found his forever home.
Christian said, “The kids still in the foster care system right now, I think it would mean a lot to them.”
About 15,000 children are in Indiana’s foster care system, but there aren’t enough foster parents for all of them.
In June, Holcomb said $25 million in state money is available to improve Child Services. “We’re using $1 million of that $25 million toward new foster parent recruitment and retention and training,” Holcomb said Thursday.
Child Services director Terry Stigdon praised the work of current foster parents. People thinking about becoming foster parents, Stigdon said, should not “shy away from that thought.”
“Don’t shy away, There’s a reason that has been placed on your heart. I would encourage anyone that’s considering being a foster parent to look into it,” the Child Services director said.