Thousands of Books Collected for Indiana Foster Youth

(INDIANAPOLIS) – More than 185 Hoosier foster children will receive backpacks of books after more than 4,700 books were donated at the annual Indiana Child Support Conference.    

Each year, the conference organized by the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council supports a local service project benefiting Hoosier youth.

This year’s more than 600 attendees brought donations for Books for Youth, a partnership program of the Indiana Department of Child Services, Indianapolis Colts and Cargo Services Inc. that provides age-appropriate reading material to Indiana foster youth.   

“I am so proud of all the work that has gone into this project and am so impressed by the 4,746 books we collected for the Books for Youth program,” said Karla Mantia, IV-D policy liaison for the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council. “This is a testament to the compassion of Indiana’s child support prosecutors and bureau staff and their dedication to improving the lives of children.”

Kristin Ballard, the wife of Colts General Manager Chris Ballard, graciously accepted the book donations, telling the crowd its generosity will make a difficult time easier for children in foster care.

Kristin Ballard address crowd.

Kristin was joined by her children, who assisted with loading the donated books, and Steve Fugate, CFO of Cargo Services, the program’s title sponsor.   

Books for Youth, founded in 2006, provides backpacks of 25 new and gently used books to children in the Indiana foster care system. Since the program’s inception, more than 8,750 backpacks have been distributed.

The donations offer children more than a chance to read; they provide youth with few personal possessions something to call their own.   

“For more than a decade, we have been working to get books into the hands of our youth in care in Indiana,” said Angela Smith Grossman, DCS assistant deputy director of field operations. “Children who are abused or neglected are often at an educational disadvantage and need this support. Reading unlocks a world of possibility, creativity, and hope.”   

To find out how you can get involved, or to learn more about the Books for Youth program, click here.