When a Center Grove family took in its first foster child, they quickly learned how significant the need was for more families like theirs.
Their foster child spent the first night sleeping in an Indiana Department of Child Services office because the state agency had run out of foster homes in Marion County, Lauren Roller said.
“I think people think DCS is exaggerating when they say kids are sleeping on the floor, but they are not,” she said.
Two years into their journey as foster parents, they have seen not only the need for other families, but also the struggles people face when they begin fostering, she said.
She’s heard from other families who took in a baby and had to rush out to get a crib, or who took in children who had nothing but the clothes they were wearing, she said.
And that can lead families to get out of foster care because they simply can’t afford to continue, or who feel the task is just too much to take on, Roller said. And that is a huge concern since more foster families are needed right now, she said.
Roller and other foster parents joined together to form Love One, a group that is meant to help foster and adoptive families get supplies and support to help them to take in children in need.
The group runs the Love One Ministries Closet to provide the items families need when they take in a child, ranging from bedding to high chairs to car seats and diapers. They get items from donations and from an Amazon wishlist that donors help buy items off of.
And later this year, they are hoping to launch a second program that is meant to provide support to foster families, including meals brought to the home and childcare so the parents can have time together, she said.
Their hope is that the support they can provide will make foster parenting less intimidating so more families will get involved, especially with the need for foster homes, she said.
“There is a huge need, we are trying to take the scary stigma away. People feel it is too much. So with the closet and community, we hope we can help,” she said.
The group also hosts events throughout the year, including educational events about what is required to become a foster parent. After their first educational event that 20 families attended, 12 began the application process to become foster families, she said.
And while not all families are able to foster children, they can still help support the ones who can, Roller said.
“Not everyone can take a kid into their home, but can we all rally around that family,” Roller said.
Love One was created to help foster families get the supplies and support needed to help children they take into their homes. Here is a look at how you can help:
The group has an Amazon wishlist of items that families may need when they take in a foster child, such as a crib or bed. You can help by donating to help buy those items at http://www.amazon.com/registry/wishlist/31MG9U73IJ51U.
Volunteers are also needed to help support new foster families, such as by providing childcare so the parents can have a night out. Learn more by visiting the group’s Facebook page at https://m.facebook.com/groups/999496446864606