In Ripley, Dearborn, Decatur, Jefferson, Ohio, and Switzerland counties there were 407 substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect in the state fiscal year 2004, according to associate vice president Lisa Peck, Children’s Bureau, Inc., Indianapolis.

That is just the number of cases. The number of children left scarred by such treatment and needing a temporary or permanent home is even greater.  Children’s Bureau is the nonprofit agency recently contracted by the state to handle foster/adoptive/kinship (parent) training (FAKT) for the above counties, known as Region 15, according to Peck. Persons interested in becoming foster or adoptive parents through the state department of child service, need to have 20 hours of FAKT preservice training and it is being offered in Batesville next month. Free classes will be held at Batesville United Methodist Church on three consecutive Saturdays, July 8, 15 and 22, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for interested people in Region 15 counties. Persons in Franklin County wanting to be trained should contact  child protection services at (765) 647-4482. Kinship care is training people who wish to care for a child or teen they know, but are not related to. Training is crucial, according to

Peck, because making the decision to take care of  an unrelated child should not be taken lightly or made with misconceptions.

“People need to understand that foster parenting is giving temporary care to children until their parents can assume responsibility,” says the training director. “You have to think that you’re part of a team, trying to help families work toward a better way of life .... The idea is to work together for the good of the child.”

Both married and single people can be foster parents or adopt.

Financial help is given through a per diem rate for foster care, but candidates must understand they are accountable for how the money is spent.  “It’s not a job. In order to be eligible, they have to be financially stable. This is meant to supplement; to help.”

Training is done in two-hour sessions and attendees will learn about safety,  physical and sexual abuse and neglect. Adoptive parents must have an extra six hours of training. “The whole purpose is to (learn to) provide basic needs of children in their home, as if they had their own child,” Peck explains.

The same training will be offered in Madison in September and again in Batesville (at Batesville Memorial Public Library) the first three Saturdays in November. “We’re doing this as long as there is a need,” Peck reports, adding that if there is enough interest, more training opportunities could be added.  

The social worker hopes there are a lot of people in the region who are willing to  seriously consider opening up their homes and hearts. “There are hundreds of children who must stay in foster care or residential care. There’s a shortage of foster homes, especially for teens or siblings.” She states that most children needing placement are between 7 and 18.

What makes a good foster, kinship or adoptive parent? According to Peck, he or she needs to be able to provide a loving, nurturing home. The adult must have time and transportation to take the child to visits and appointments and be willing to work with child service workers and with the child’s family of origin.  Being a good role model is also very important, especially with older children.

Before a license is granted, persons must also have first aid and CPR training and go through a home inspection and other screening processes. Foster and adoptive parents can specify what age group, gender and race they prefer.

According to Peck, Children’s Bureau’s mission is to support and assist children and families at risk and has over 26 programs.

Those interested in learning more or to sign up for taking the training may call (317) 545-5284, Ext. 226, or toll-free at (866) 287-2420, Ext. 226.

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