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Indiana Child Services Foster Parent Bill of Rights: 1 year later

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The state Department of Child Services has had a Foster Parent BIll of rights for about a year now.

Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the bill into law last spring. At the time, it was hailed as something that would greatly help foster parents, but is it really helping?

In 12 years, more than 100 children have sat in the kitchen of. It feeds her, her husband and their four foster children. 

“We do this because we love the children and we care about the children,” Miles said. “We care about what happens to them long-term.” 

The Foster Parent Bill of Rights promises rights to communication, support, safety and privacy, collaboration and respect.

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When asked if the Foster Parent Bill of Rights is working, Miles said.​​​​​”Sadly, part of it is working, but I think the other half of that is not working.”

Miles said she feels like communication from and collaboration with Child Services could be better. 

“We’re supposed to get notification of court hearings,” Miles said. “We’re supposed to get notification of team meetings. Even in my cases, specifically, that’s just not happening.”

“I can’t provide the children with what they need if I don’t know what’s going on in this family unit, if I don’t know what’s going on with the team, what the expectations are.” Miles said.

Miles said she likes what’s happening in the safety and privacy section in terms of keeping foster families safe. She also feels she has better contacts at Child Services.

“I do always know who my FCM (family case manager) is.” Miles said. “It’s important that these bill of rights mean something. That way, we can actually serve our children the way we want to serve them.”

On Thursday, Noelle Russell, a Child Services spokeswoman sent this statement:

“Our foster parent bill of rights is just the beginning of several important steps DCS is taking to support and empower this important group of people. We are also collaborating with foster parents to shape a new online foster parent portal aimed at supporting both current and prospective foster families.”

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