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Adoption subsidy a blessing for both children, families

On behalf of the 87 member agencies of the Indiana Association of Resources and Child Advocacy and the children they serve, we want to thank Gov. Mike Pence and Division of Children’s Services Director Mary Beth Bonaventura for locating funds for the state adoption subsidy. Child welfare research documents that the availability of an adoption subsidy saves state dollars. Most importantly, it encourages the participation of more families and preserves and sustains the adoption of special-needs children.

We have appreciated the efforts of Sen. John Broden to bring attention to the needs of adopted children and families. We also thank Rep. Rebecca Kubacki and Sen. Carlin Yoder for their work on legislation that established the Adoption Study Committee. Sen. Travis Holdman has been a strong supporter of both foster and adoptive families through his leadership on the DCS Interim Study Committee and the Commission on Improving the Status of Children in Indiana.

IARCA member agencies serve children who have experienced more than four risk factors on average, including neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, witnessing domestic violence, parental substance abuse and parental incarceration.

Of the 5,553 children tracked in IARCA’s Outcome Measures Project for 2013, 11.2 percent (622) were free for adoption. About 27 percent were receiving special education services, and 40 percent were on psychotropic medication to address mental health needs. The availability of the state adoption subsidy will help more families make a commitment to adopt children with a variety of special needs.

We also recognize that it takes many partners working together to achieve a permanent family for special-needs children. We thank the DCS family case managers, juvenile court judges, court-appointed special advocates, private providers and attorneys who together work with the child and the family to achieve a successful adoption.

We are deeply proud to be partners in a state which affirms that children grow, learn, and flourish best in a family. The children affected will be blessed for their lifetime with a “forever family.”

CATHLEEN GRAHAM

Executive director, IARCA

SHARON E. PIERCE

President and CEO

The Villages of Indiana

Chair, IARCA Public Policy Committee

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