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New Every Child Indiana initiative aims to boost statewide foster family recruitment

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Nonprofits Hands of Hope and The Contingent, in partnership with the Indiana Department of Child Services, announced their new initiative Every Child Indiana Nov. 28.

It is a two-pronged approach to meet the need for more licensed foster families throughout the state.

RELATED: DCS accused of failure to protect children in foster care in class action lawsuit

“We’re thrilled to be part of this robust network of statewide organizations committed to the nurturing of Indiana foster families as we all work together toward the goal of having more than enough foster families throughout Indiana for children in foster care to have an ideal placement,” said Suzy Roth, executive director of Hands of Hope.

Every Child Indiana aims to advance Indiana’s foster care system by using digital technology and marketing to identify and recruit more potential foster families.

It will also mobilize a network of individual volunteers – and 30 licensed foster child placement agencies and volunteer organizations – to provide grassroots support for foster children, foster families and families of origin.

Every Child Indiana

“We believe this collaborative partnership is going to have a tremendous positive impact on foster children and families across the state,” said Roth.

The initiative’s marketing strategy includes targeted digital advertising, storytelling, organic content and print materials all based on a gap analysis of the needs of children in Indiana foster care.

According to Roth, nationally 50% of foster parents quit after the first year because of the harsh demands.

“We are bringing an innovation that we call Air Game, which is a bundle of technology, very targeted digital marketing, data and research, and community experience,” said Akilah Webster, executive director of The Contingent Indiana.

“So, those bundled together we hope will help amplify and boost the work that’s being done on the ground by all of the amazing partners that are part of this effort.”
This strategy is a statewide rallying cry and is also targeted by ZIP code and by the specific needs of children in foster care.

Foster care recruitment and volunteers

The campaign encourages Hoosiers to support child welfare with convenient opportunities to do so including:

Donating goods to foster children and families; volunteering to deliver goods to children and families who need them; filling goodie bags for child welfare workers to distribute; babysitting at a church or community organization that offers foster parents a night out; or becoming foster parents.

“The national numbers do show that after the first year of fostering that families stopped their fostering journey. We know that the children coming into care have complex needs, and so we are really supporting those families,” said Gretchen Grier, director of foster care and kinship care for the Indiana Department of Child Services.

By the end of 2026, the initiative aims to increase volunteer engagement supporting kids in foster care by 25% and the number of newly licensed foster families in Indiana by 5% and to retain over 60% of newly licensed families.

Contact staff writer Jade Jackson at 317-607-5792 or by email JadeJ@IndyRecorder.com. Follow her on Twitter @IAMJADEJACKSON.

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