Indiana makes big investments in the safety and well-being of children, youth, and families
As the 2023 legislative session comes to a close, Hoosier children, youth, and families who have experienced abuse or neglect saw significant investments in them and the services that support them. Thanks to initiatives supported by the Indiana Department of Child Services and the Governor and champions in the General Assembly, Indiana is prepared to make $111.6 million in new invetments in supporting stable homes for children and youth and services to the entire child and family welfare community. Here is how it breaks down:
Stipends for unlicensed kinship families: $27.6 million
Increase in foster care per diem: $6.1 million
Workforce Stabilization Fund: $30 million
Community and Homebased rates: $38.5 million
Non-profit operating margin: $9.4 million
These new investments represent years of work by IARCA members. We were all grateful that DCS and the Governor’s office included many of these line items in their budget proposals. In particular, DCS’s increase to community and homebased rates were the result of an outside study conducted by Milliman from data submitted by dozens of Indiana agencies. That study followed years of work by homebased agencies to document the gap between rates and the cost of services.
Similarly, the non-profit operating margin for residential services and foster care agencies was a key initiative for Indiana agencies going back almost a decade. The margin was included in 2020 rates but then suspended going into 2021 due to uncertainty about the economic effects of the pandemic. Having the margin included in this budget will not only help over the next two years but is also a good indication of it being a permanent facet of the rate setting process going forward.
Finally, agencies around Indiana have long been advocating for better support for kinship families. Indiana families have done an amazing job stepping up for relatives in need. But, if they weren’t willing to go through the licensing process, they were largely left without financial support. This addition of a monthly stipend for unlicensed kinship homes is a huge step forward to support those homes and preserve the placements.
In addition to these investments, champions in the House and Senate fought for $30 million for a Child and Family Workforce Stabilization Fund. Reconizing the significant strain the service array is under due to workforce shortages, members of the House Ways and Means and Senate Appropriations Committees and their colleagues throughout the General Assembly found additional funds to invest in a grant program to support hiring and retention equal to the need in the state. In particular, the grants will focus on increasing services to children and youth with high acuity and complex families.
IARCA and our members are incredibly grateful for these new investments. We are excited about working with Indiana's children, youth, and families and our partners at DCS and other state agencies to put these funds to use helping Hoosiers heal.
Save the date: 2023 Annual IARCA Conference September 12 and 13 (new location!)
4th Annual Child and Family Welfare Book Drive a huge success
On March 15, IARCA held its 4th Annual Child and Family Welfare Book Drive with members of the General Assembly. Thanks to support from Speaker Huston and Senator Liz Brown, nearly half of the members of the General Assembly stopped by to sign books for children, youth, and families in their districts. Altogether, we have more than 250 books to go out around the state. IARCA members will help to get the books distributed over the coming weeks.
IARCA Institute teamed with Indiana House on Fostering Hopeful Futures to get home kits to young adults
On March 7, Indiana Speaker Todd Huston and Leader Phil GiaQuinta kicked off the Foster Hopeful Futures work day. Dozens of their colleagues from House districts around the state helped to assemble 150 new home kits for young adults transitioning from foster care to their first home. The House members were assisted by staff from Benchmark, Firefly Children and Family Alliance, Geminus, George Jr Republic in Indiana, Gibault Childrens’ Services, Open Door Youth Services, and United Methodist Youth Home.
Each bag includes between 10 and 15 brand new household items for the kitchen, bathroom, and living room. Donations were made by House members throughout February. Recognizing that some youth transition out of foster care without a recognized parental relationship, these kits will help fill that gap a little.
The message from our elected Representatives statewide to these young Hoosiers is, "You have a home here in Indiana." And while helpful, the kits are largely a symbolic gesture from state leaders committed to supporting their well-being and future success. The IARCA Institue was excited to be a part of this initiative to raise awareness for these young adults.
IARCA and IARCA Institute Annual Report now available
Reimagining Indiana Foster Care Campaign:
Very few Hoosier parents are in regular, collaborative contact with the foster families caring for their children. Primarily, this is because our system has neither encouraged nor supported these relationships. In many cases, DCS staff has actively discouraged these connections. It’s time we change that reality in Indiana.
Working together, foster care agencies, home-based services organizations, the courts, and our public partners can turn Indiana into a state where most children in foster care see the important adults in their lives communicating and collaborating. In order to achieve this goal, the Reimagining Indiana Foster Care Work Group began working together in late 2020. The Work Group was co-led by Mary Mims of Dockside Services, Teresa Lyles of the State CASA Office, and Angela Smith-Grossman of DCS. They were joined by County CASA leaders, DCS staff, and Brenda Chapin from the Villages of Indiana, Brooke Clawson from Children’s Bureau/Families First, Dana Thomas from Associated in Counseling and Psychotherapy, Amanda Davidson from NYAP, and Jackie Marshall from Bauer Family Services. The Work Group was also supported by Stephanie Grossman and Jennifer Reed who both experienced not being connected to the foster parents caring for their child or children.
The Work Group presented a webinar to kick-off the Campaign on Oct 28th. You can view that 50 minute video at: https://www.iarcavideos.org/kickoff2021
We followed up the kick-off with a great webinar with Children's Home Society of North Carolina focusing on their work transforming their services to promote more and better reunification. You can view that webinar, Examples from North Carolina on connecting parents with foster/kinship parents, on demand at: https://www.iarcavideos.org/connectingparentsnc
Campaign Principles and Action Steps
The Work Group developed a set of Principles and Action Steps that provide the foundation for the campaign. This document explains what we can achieve by working together, principles for that collaboration, and action steps that agencies and invidividuals can take to move practice forward. The action steps are based on leading examples from around the United States and reflect a growing national consensus that children and youth do best with the adults in their lives communicate effectively and support one another.
Your organization can sign on as an endorser of the Campaign Principles and Action Steps here: https://forms.gle/qWyZ669U1asBSP5s5
IARCA is incredibly grateful to Alexius, Davina, Ashely, Shannon, Molly, Nikki, and Shawn for sharing their experieces building the kind of collaborative relationships that benefit children and youth the most. This 5 minute video demonstrates how families can bond over their care and concern for the child or youth involved. And it highlights the positive benefits shared parenting creates for all involved. Imagine how many more families could experience what these families did if we build a system that supports shared parenting.
IARCA Institute for Excellence webinars and videos - on demand
On demand videos from the IARCA Institute are now located on one convenient page. The free recorded webinars and videos cover a range of topics, including:
IARCA Institute Webinar: Prevention of Sexual Abuse and Coercion
Indiana Family Preservation Services: Where are we one-year in?
Strategic Partnerships and Mergers: Tips from the field
Attachment, Substance Use, Pregnancy and Neurobiology Webinar
Beyond Cultural & Linguistic Competence: Achieving Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
IARCA 2022 State of the Association
Each year, we release a State of the Association as part of our Annual members' meeting. Get caught up on what IARCA has been up to this year.
Information on COVID 19/coronavirus
IARCA is in regular communication with IN DCS and Indiana State Department of Health staff about updates on coronavirus preparation. We are also gathering information from other states, the federal government, and subject matter experts that we think might be helpful in preparing children, families, and staff for coronavirus preparedness. We will maintain and update a list of announcements and resources for the foreseeable future.
IARCA Member Resource Directory
IARCA's Member Resource Directory of Services for Children and Families is a great way to find out which of our members are providing services you need. You can download the November 2022 Guide which includes all members and services in our database or you can use our online directory where you can limit your search by things like region or service.
The mission of the Indiana Association of Resources and Child Advocacy (IARCA) is to promote cooperation, communication, development and mutual support among organizations and systems providing services to children and their families, and to advocate for the establishment and maintenance of the highest quality, most effective, and most appropriate services possible to children and their families.
Membership with the Indiana Association of Resources and Child Advocacy (IARCA) provides many benefits to its members, including entry in the IARCA Member Resource Directory of Services for Children & Families which is available online for use by the Department of Child Services, Probation Departments, Juvenile Courts, Special Education Offices, CASA/GAL Programs, concerned parents and other professionals.