Long-Awaited Support Headed To Indiana Adoptive Families
By Mary Kuhlman, Indiana News Service
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Hundreds of adopted children and their families in Indiana will finally receive long awaited support.
In 2009, the state began placing families that adopted children with special needs on a waiting list for additional financial help.
Gov. Mike Pence is now releasing $10 million from the next budget to an estimated 1,400 families on the list.
Josh Kroll, coordinator of the Adoption Subsidy Resource Center for the North American Council on Adoptable Children, says this is additional money for families that are raising children with extensive needs.
“Some children have disabilities and some families keep siblings together,” he explains. “Some families adopt sibling groups of three or four children and most people can’t incorporate three or four children into their household without some financial support. ”
In a lawsuit filed in June, some adoptive families claim the Department of Child Services failed to pay promised subsidies.
DCS argued it did not have the money, and this week the governor directed the agency to pay the families using money that would have been reverted to the state’s general fund.
Shawn Cain lives in northwest Indiana and is the adoptive parent of a sibling group of three.
She says these subsidies go a long way to ensuring children have the tools they need for a successful future.
“These kids didn’t ask to be placed in this situation,” she points out. “They’ve had trauma in their lives, whether it be from physical abuse, neglect – they’ve suffered and they’ve suffered long enough. And these kids deserve a life.”
Kroll says there is more that needs to be figured out, including the negotiation of payment agreements with some of the families.
He says additionally, the DCS and state leaders need to ensure the funding is ongoing.
“Is there the commitment there to make sure once the support starts flowing to these children and the families raising them that it doesn’t get taken away?” he says.
Families on the waiting lists and those that adopt during the next budget year will receive the payments.
The governor said the legislative Adoption Study Committee will investigate the issue for future funding.