INDIANAPOLIS—All Pro Dad is partnering with the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) to encourage families in the state to foster or adopt a child in need of a safe and stable family. Today at Lucas Oil Stadium, Gov. Eric J. Holcomb, DCS director Terry Stigdon, Family First president Mark Merrill and former Indianapolis Colts head coach and Pro Football Hall of Famer Tony Dungy announced a foster parent recruitment campaign. All Pro Dad is the fatherhood program of Family First, a national nonprofit that helps families love well.
With more than 15,000 children in the foster care system, Indiana’s need for families willing to foster or adopt is significant. The All Pro Dad initiative will help bring awareness to the need and define ways to help.
“Here in Indiana, we are taking action to protect vulnerable children by increasing the number of foster families and dedicating new resources to the Department of Child Services,” Gov. Holcomb said. “In partnering with Coach Dungy and Family First, I know Hoosiers will step up to offer the extraordinary gift of helping a child in need.”
Building on the success of similar programs in Florida and South Carolina, Family First and All Pro Dad will use a diversified strategy of both traditional and social media to identify individuals willing to serve and work with DCS to build its foster family roster. The awareness campaign includes social media, digital advertising, TV and radio public service announcements, billboards and special events across the state.
“All children need families who love them,” said Mark Merrill, Family First president and CEO. “Our goal is to place every child in the foster system with a loving, caring family and to find loving families for every child in the adoption pipeline. Our charge to families in Indiana is a simple one: Find room in your heart and home to love one more child.”
In addition to the partnership with Family First and All Pro Dad, DCS is moving forward with new foster parent recruiting, retention and training programs. Under Director Stigdon’s leadership, the agency is hiring 14 additional foster care licensing specialists to recruit and retain quality foster care families and adding a liaison between the agency and Hoosier foster families.
“The safety and prosperity of Indiana’s vulnerable children depends on willingness and support from community leaders across the state,” Stigdon said. “I am confident this partnership and additional resources toward our foster care unit will result in more children being placed in loving homes.”
Dungy serves as the national spokesperson for All Pro Dad, which offers support, tips and advice to help dads be actively engaged in their children’s lives.
“As parents of seven adopted children, my wife and I know there is no greater joy than connecting children with loving families,” Dungy said. “Indiana is a special place for my family, and we are thankful for the support from DCS as we embark on a mission to help all Indiana fathers become All Pro Dads.”
The foster and adoption awareness campaign is supported in part by a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. Parents interested in learning more about foster care or adoption can download “The 4 Joys of Foster Parenting” and “Overcoming the 6 Fears of Foster Parenting” at AllProDad.com/Foster. For more information on how you can change the life of a child and become a foster parent, visit AllProDad.com/Foster/Indiana or call 1-833-4IN-KIDS (446-5437).
About Indiana DCS: The Indiana Department of Child Services engages with families and collaborates with state, local and community partners to protect children from abuse and neglect and to provide child support services. Indiana Child Abuse/Neglect Hotline: 800.800.5556. Child Support Customer Service Kidsline: 800.840.8757 or 317.233.5437.www.in.gov/dcs
About Family First: Family First is a national nonprofit organization that reaches millions of parents each day through its three primary programs: All Pro Dad, AllProDad.com; iMOM,iMOM.com; and the Family Minute with Mark Merrill, FamilyMinute.com.
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