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More Indiana homes prepare to host foster children; statewide need remains high

According to Indiana Foster Care, there are roughly 6,200 licensed parents across the state.

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana's ranks of licensed foster parents is about to grow, according to Indiana Foster Care, adding to the 6,200 parents across the state currently.

13News reported on the growing need for foster parents in the Hoosier state in March. Since then, social workers say more than 60 homes are on the verge of finishing up the licensing process. 

"I was anxious, so I got on the ball; and my husband, I had to pull him along," said foster parent Heather Barry. 

When it comes to being a foster parent, Barry and husband are like professionals.

RELATED: Thousands of kids await Indiana foster homes: Here's how you can help

The Hoosier couple is going on two years as licensed foster parents here in Indiana, a process Barry says starts with a home study after applying to foster.

"They'll come in, talk to you. They talk to us together; they talk to us separately. They do get to know you," Barry said. "But a part of that is finding what kind of placements and kids would be best for you."

Once your family and home have been approved, you then go through training, which Barry said involves about 30 hours.

"We found that it was easy to do that training at home, not having to find babysitters, not having to travel," Barry said.

Social workers say it usually takes about 60 or more days to get officially licensed. Since Barry and her husband were approved, they've helped nearly two dozen kids.

"From the time we got licensed to today, we have had 23 kids in our home," Barry said. "Some for a long time, some for a short time. I know it can be a scary thought to get into, but it's also life changing, and what you can do for these children and their lives."

While Barry and her husband have fostered children of all ages, social workers say there is a big need for teens to be placed in foster homes. 

"Our teenager that we have now, I can talk to him. You don't think about that benefit," Barry said. "Getting him ready for his prom, helping him with his classes in school, those were things that I can't do with a four- or five-year-old that I really enjoy that I didn't realize I would enjoy doing."

To learn more about becoming a foster parent here in Indiana, visit this link

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