FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)- Across the state of Indiana, thousands of children are in need of a loving home and loving parents. Kids are put into foster care for numerous reasons, families affected by poverty, affected by substance use disorder, mental health issues, or unable to take care of their children.
The Villages of Indiana is a nonprofit agency committed to providing every child in Indiana a safe and stable home. Right now, they are looking for families that are willing to home kids who are over the age of eight, some of which are in sibling groups. The Villages try to keep siblings together at all cost.
Last year, The Villages received 5,325 requests for foster child placements statewide. They were able to fill 254 of those asks.
In Allen County, 841 children are in need of service (CHINS) for April 2023. The full list of CHIN placements can be found here.
Shannon Schumacher, President and CEO of the Villages of Indiana, describes who foster parents are.
“We have a very diverse population of foster parents, some people think that foster parents are maybe in it for the money or that, that they they can’t do it themselves, or they’re not old enough or they are married, so, there are a lot of myths,” said Schumacher
The process to become a foster parent can range from a month to six depending on the licensing process. Once the fostering process has been finalized, each foster parent is assigned to one of the Villages professional childcare expert and do home visits. The Villages makes it their mission to match each child with the right parents.
“If a foster parent says that they only want small children, we are not going to place a 15 year old with them, if a family so we do a lot of work on the front end for families to identify what kind of match they want,” Schumacher said.
If foster care isn’t the right choice for a family, there are plenty of way to help support foster families. “More than likely everybody knows somebody who is fostering and within their church and their family and supporting those those foster parents by helping with respite care or doing some babysitting or taking some meals,” said Schumacher. “I often think about it is just like if somebody had a new baby, what would you do? How would you support that family? And we think of that in terms of our foster parents.”
If you are interested in fostering or to become more informed of the need, the Villages has information sessions every month visit their website to sign up.
The Villages has a Fort Wayne office at 2250 Lake Ave Suite 160.