Indiana’s Foster & Adoptive Parents Gain Advocate with New Nonprofit

Indiana Foster & Adoptive Parents Logo with Tagline

Organization to systematically connect parents and coordinate their input to influence sensible and effective foster and adoptive policies, education, and training

Brazil, Indiana, 10/30/17 – Coinciding with National Adoption Month, Kristi Cundiff, founder of the popular Indiana Foster and Adoptive Parents Facebook Group, announces the launch of Indiana Foster and Adoptive Parents Resources and Advocacy Group, Inc., (IFAAP) as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

“As a parent who has opened my heart to many foster children, I have firsthand experience with the joys and challenges of fostering,” explains Kristi. “Without good support and effective policies, it can be difficult to consistently provide stable, loving homes that will make the most of our children’s potential.”

While there are several Indiana organizations that already help foster and adoptive children and families, none represents the unique perspective of foster and adoptive parents.

“Foster parents have limited parental rights, so we’re often overlooked,” notes Kristi. “Yet we have the most intimate view of when and how the system works – or doesn’t – so we’re uniquely positioned to bridge gaps and solve problems to ensure the best outcomes for Indiana’s children.”

IFAAP has already identified its 2018 priorities, based in part on surveys Kristi has conducted with IFAAP Facebook Group members. Those priorities include: 1) Invest & Protect, which focuses on childcare financial assistance and car seat safety and certification, 2) Trauma Informed Care, which focuses on TIC legislation, training, and education for all people who work with children, and 3) Follow the Fed, which focuses on ensuring adherence to federal policy, including the SAFE Families Act, Title IV-E Adoption Subsidy Guidelines, and Vocational Rehabilitation.

“Indiana’s foster children belong to all of us, and they need us,” Kristi emphasizes. “Even if you aren’t able to open your home to children, you can make a big difference by supporting us financially, volunteering your time when needed, and joining us on social media.”

The IFAAP website can be found at FosterAndAdoptiveParents.org. You can reach Kristi Cundiff at Kristi@FosterAndAdoptiveParents.org, and request to join the IFAAP Facebook Group by searching on Indiana Foster and Adoptive Parents.

About Indiana Foster and Adoptive Parents Resources and Advocacy Group, Inc.

The Indiana Foster and Adoptive Parents Resource and Advocacy Group, Inc. (IFAAP), originated as a closed Facebook Group started by Kristi Cundiff, who wanted a place where foster and adoptive parents in the State of Indiana could network and get support. Today, there are more than 5,200 members, and the group continues to grow. With this growth, Kristi saw an opportunity to do even more for Indiana’s foster families by formalizing the group’s work as a nonprofit. As a nonprofit, IFAAP will offer more coordinated advocacy and support to foster and adoptive families.

IFAAP CEO Kristi Cundiff and Senator Jon Ford Discuss Trauma-Informed Care

Indiana Foster & Adoptive Parents CEO Kristi Cundiff and Senator Jon Ford

Thank you to Senator Jon Ford for meeting with me today. I am amazed that Senator Ford is always available to listen to our issues and concerns. He is really working hard on research and legislation for Indiana to become a Trauma-Informed Care State. We are blessed!

IFAAP Members Meet with Reps. Alan Morrison and Bob Heaton

Indiana Foster & Adoptive Parents with Alan Morrison

A big THANK YOU to Representatives Alan Morrison and Bob Heaton for meeting today with our AWESOME MEMBERS. We discussed our three priorities going into 2018:

  1. Invest & Protect
    • Child care financial assistance, where we shared results of our IFAAP survey feedback that many foster parents would take, or consider taking, more children if there were funding for child care
    • Car seat safety and certification, to prevent car seat-related tragedies like Major Maxie’s
  2. Trauma-Informed Care (TIC)
    • We discussed the importance of having school and day care personnel TIC-trained so they know how to best work with children who have experienced trauma and are unable to effectively communicate their feelings
    • We highlighted the value of becoming a TIC state to attract providers and facilities who specialize in TIC
  3. Follow the Fed
    • Talked about the importance of adhering to the SAFE Families Act termination guidelines to get children into permanent homes more quickly to give them stability

We also highlighted some of the issues the Department of Child Services is facing, how it affects the children, and our recommendations for closing those gaps. We walked away from our meeting feeling that we had been heard, and that our representatives had a much better understanding of our challenges and solutions.

Pictured from left to right are Mike and Amy Brown Cunningham, Lisa Hughes, Representative Morrison, Antoinette Williams, and Kristi Cundiff, IFAAP Administrator and CEO. Not pictured: Representative Bob Heaton and his wife, Jane Ann Heaton.

IFAAP Members Meet with John Hammond of Governor Holcomb’s Staff

Indiana Foster & Adoptive Parents at Governor Holcomb's Office

Our Meeting at the Governor’s Office was AMAZING! We met with a key member of Governor Holcomb‘s staff, Mr. John Hammond, who oversees the operations of Indiana’s Department of Child Services, as well as other agencies. It was one of the most productive meetings yet! In the our meeting we discussed the following IFAAP priorities:

  1. Invest & Protect
    • Child care financial assistance, where we shared results of our IFAAP survey feedback that many foster parents would take, or consider taking, more children if there were funding for child care, and how the CANS assessment was never designed to put a cost on taking care of a child
    • Car seat safety and certification, to prevent car seat-related tragedies like Major Maxie’s
  2. Trauma-Informed Care (TIC)
    • We discussed the importance of having school and day care personnel TIC-trained so they know how to best work with children who have experienced trauma and are unable to effectively communicate their feelings
    • We highlighted the value of becoming a TIC state to attract providers and facilities who specialize in TIC
  3. Follow the Fed
    • Talked about the importance of DCS adhering to the SAFE Families Act termination guidelines to get children into permanent homes more quickly to give them stability

We also touched on the opioid epidemic and moms who are having multiple children. As we finished, we talked about meeting with Mr. Hammond and DCS officials every three months to be problem solvers. Our voices are being heard!

IFAAP Members Meet with Senators Ron Grooms and Jon Ford

Indiana Foster & Adoptive Parents with Ron Grooms and Jon Ford

Members of IFAAP met with Senator Ron Grooms (seated at left) and Senator Jon Ford (seated at right) at the Indiana State Capitol today. Our group was very grateful for the opportunity to share information and ideas to help support foster children and the families who care for them. We discussed the following IFAAP priorities:

  1. Invest & Protect
    • Child care financial assistance, where we shared results of our IFAAP survey feedback that many foster parents would take, or consider taking, more children if there were funding for child care
    • Car seat safety and certification, to prevent car seat-related tragedies like Major Maxie’s
  2. Trauma-Informed Care (TIC)
    • We discussed the importance of having school and day care personnel TIC-trained so they know how to best work with children who have experienced trauma and are unable to effectively communicate their feelings
    • We highlighted the value of becoming a TIC state to attract providers and facilities who specialize in TIC
  3. Follow the Fed
    • We talked about the importance of DCS adhering to the SAFE Families Act termination guidelines to get children into permanent homes more quickly to give them stability

Thank you to all of our members who took time out of their busy schedules to advocate for children and make a difference.