Indiana House passes Summers bill to assist kinship caregivers

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INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana House members passed legislation authored by Representative Vanessa Summers (D-Indianapolis) that would help kinship caregivers meet the needs of their children.

House Bill 1500 would require the Department of Child Services (DCS) to submit an annual report to the General Assembly detailing the practices and partnerships developed by the Indiana Kinship Care Navigator Program to assist Indiana caregivers.

A kinship caregiver is a person who suddenly takes the responsibility of providing full-time care to a child. It would include grandparents and other relatives, stepparents, godparents or family friends.

“In many cases, a person who takes this role is asked to take responsibility for a child after a tragedy takes the lives of the child’s parents,” Summers said. “The caretaker could be a grandparent who has not parented a child for years or someone who has no parenting experience at all. The Kinship Care Navigator Program is there to support these caregivers by providing them with information they need to meet the financial, medical and emotional needs of the child.”

The program was established by the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) to provide kinship caregivers with the information and resources they need in order to properly care for their children.

“This bill requires DCS to provide an annual report that will keep the General Assembly informed on what the program is doing to help support kinship care families, including the services that are available to caregivers,” Summers added. “Every child deserves to grow up in a loving family environment and this bill will help provide that for many young Hoosiers.”

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