INDIANAPOLIS — More than 10,000 children here in Indiana are in the foster care system, in search of a place to call home and social workers across the state are having trouble finding suitable homes for them.
"I can't imagine anything more fearful than that as a teenager, just to leave everything you know behind." Terrilynn Durnal, a social worker with the National Youth Advocate Program.
Durnal said the need to place teens with a foster family is concerning.
"It's not uncommon for me to see referrals for 50 or 60 kids each week come through my office, and often I can maybe place one or two of those children," Durnal said.
According to Indiana Foster Care, there are roughly 6,200 licensed parents, but about 13,000 children are in the Indiana foster system, many waiting for a home.
"They're not troubled kids and they're not in the system because they've done anything wrong," Durnal said. "They're just ... they're just there, because, you know, something that has happened in their family and, and by chance they're, you know, they're needing a place to live."
Durnal said the requirements to become a licensed foster parent are simple.
"You need to complete background checks, you'll need to complete a home study, you'll need to be able to provide proof of your family's financial income, we just need to know that you can take care of your household as is without the assistance of any financial assistance that comes from being a foster parent," Durnal said.
She added that they even have virtual options to help make the process easy.
"We have gotten our trainings down to where we can license a home in 30 to 60 days. And when we have motivated families," Durnal said, "We offer virtual trainings so that you can train from the comfort of your home and get your 30 credit hours to become a therapeutic licensed foster home."
According to the Indiana Department of Child Services, adoption rates have dropped 23 percent since 2019.
If you are interested in learning more about becoming a foster parent, click here.