(YORKTOWN) – Twenty-seven Hoosier foster children received gently used bicycles and new helmets this week, thanks in part to a generous donation by the state’s LaRue Carter Memorial Hospital.
The children and their foster families were invited to a public park Monday afternoon to receive the bikes and enjoy free summer treats. The children, who are being cared for by a relative or another adult with whom they have a family-like relationship, are part of the new Kinship of Indiana Support Services pilot program.
The kinship pilot program was created this year to help understand and address the unique needs of kinship and relative caregivers across the state and ensure they are connected to necessary resources. Monday’s giveaway offered a chance for the program’s coordinators to connect with the families and show their appreciation.
“A bike is a symbol of childhood for most of us,” said Sarah Sailors, DCS deputy director of field operations. “This giveaway to relatives was a small gesture to thank them for their efforts and give these kids a safe and healthy activity as they grow up.”
Foster children are better able to maintain family ties when they are placed with relatives or other kinship caregivers (such as step parents or close family friends) after being removed from the care of their biological parents. That leads to better outcomes and fewer placement changes.
“Keeping families together is a paramount effort by DCS,” said Angela Smith Grossman, DCS assistant deputy director of field operations. “It is a difficult role that kinship caregivers assume, and while there is joy and value to raising these children in their family system, we recognize the challenges our caregivers face.”
Since the kinship program’s start in May, DCS employees have completed 50 home visits to support this special group of caregivers. For more information on the kinship program or to learn how to become a foster parent, visit Indianafostercare.org.