The number of children coming through Marion County’s child welfare system has doubled over the past two years. A new pilot program aims to get some of those kids out of the system and into homes more quickly.
The partnership between Child Advocates and the Indianapolis Legal Aid Society is being funded through a nearly $1 million grant from the Lilly Endowment.
The new Child Permanency Pilot Project is designed to help potential caregivers obtain guardianship of a child that’s in the system.
“That might be going back home with parents if we can help facilitate that and make that happen a little sooner,” says Executive Director of Child Advocates Cindy Booth. “It’s kind of a check of what’s happening in the court system.”
Booth says the legal aid society will help facilitate the best placement for a child. For example, the Department of Child Services may not view a grandmother with a decades-old felony as a viable guardian for a child, despite that being the best option.
“Legal aid can then do a felony expungement and that helps that grandmother be deemed a more appropriate placement,” she says.
The grant is good for three years, but Booth says she’s hopeful the program will continue beyond its expiration.