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June 27, 2019

Tony Dungy and DCS Celebrate Indiana Foster Families with Hall of Fame Award in Indianapolis

Inaugural awards presented by All Pro Dad and the Indiana Department of Child Services

highlighted work of six Hoosier foster families

 

INDIANAPOLIS — (June 14, 2019) — All Pro Dad Spokesman and former Indianapolis Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy, with Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) Director Terry Stigdon recognized six exceptional foster families in Indiana with the Hall of Fame Award on June 8 in Indianapolis. Nominations were submitted from 18 regions in Indiana; 24 entries were received, and All Pro Dad staff selected the six most remarkable stories.

The following foster parents were selected:

  • Mark and Rhonda Hiefner
  • Scott and Debbie Gentry
  • Steve and Janelle Lustig
  • Richard and Karen Cohn
  • Douglas and Susan Perry
  • Jeffrey and Natalie Meece

“This is quite an honor for me to recognize these special families because I know the love and dedication it takes to adopt and foster children,” Dungy said. “I am so thankful each of these families has joined the calling to help children across the state of Indiana find a loving and safe home.”

This inaugural award was given to families at a special Indiana Foster Family Hall of Fame luncheon presented by All Pro Dad and the Indiana Department of Child Services. Nominees for the Hall of Fame Award demonstrated an outstanding ability to provide a stable and supportive environment, allowing foster children to grow in many areas of their lives.

All Pro Dad and DCS considered the following criteria when selecting ‘Hall of Fame’ Award winners:

  • What set the nominated foster care family apart.
  • Nominees’ work with the system of care, family members and community resources.
  • Nominees’ understanding and recognition of the needs of the children placed in their care — to be accepted and respected as an individual; to be treated with dignity; to be valued for their contributions.
  • Evidence of deep commitment to foster care as shown by length of service, intensity of care and dedication.
  • Preparation of children for reunification or other permanent living arrangements.

“Foster parents fill the gap for vulnerable Hoosier citizens in extremely challenging circumstances,” DCS director Terry Stigdon said. “We are grateful for our foster parents who dedicate their time and energy to helping raise Indiana’s children. Our nominees are committed to providing a stable, safe and loving environment to children who can no longer live in their home, and they deserve a moment of recognition.”

In October, Dungy and Stigdon announced a partnership between their organizations to raise awareness of adoptive and foster family recruitment in Indiana. The partnership between All Pro Dad and DCS shares the vision to help children in vulnerable situations by strengthening families.

“As a father myself, there is no greater feeling than witnessing the smile on a child’s face when he or she experiences the love of a parent,” said Mark Merrill, president of All Pro Dad. “We are so thankful for this partnership with DCS as we aim to bring this love to every child in Indiana.”

As of May 2019, 14,313 Indiana children had been removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect. Learn how you can help by visiting www.allprodad.com/onemore.

ABOUT ALL PRO DAD:

All Pro Dad is the fatherhood program of Family First, a national nonprofit organization based in Tampa 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.

All Pro Dad was founded by Mark Merrill and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy. Serving families and fathers for more than 20 years, All Pro Dad provides resources, training and events to help fathers as they raise their children for a healthy and hopeful future. There are more than 1,300 All Pro Dad chapters in 44 states, 93 of which are in Indiana. Since 2002, there have been more than 100 All Pro Dad Experience events.

ABOUT THE INDIANA DEPARTMENT OF CHILD SERVICES:

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. Visit indianafostercare.org. To report abuse or neglect, call the Indiana Child Abuse/Neglect Hotline: 800-800-5556. Child Support Customer Service Kidsline: 800-840-8757 or 317-233-5437. Recruitment hotline: 1-833-4IN-KIDS.

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