Indiana families push for 'foster parent bill of rights'

INDIANAPOLIS -- An Indiana state senator has proposed a "foster parent bill of rights" which aims to give foster parents a say in the future of the children they take into their homes.

The proposal comes as the Indiana Department of Child Services(DCS) struggles to find homes for many foster children.

A hearing on the bill is scheduled for later this month.

Foster mom Carrie Upchurch, who has had 34 placements in five years, said she feels limited when it comes to her role as a foster mom.

"At the end of the day we have no rights. Foster parents are on the front lines we do every day, 24/7, all the care doctors appointments and everything we need protections and we need help," Upchurch, who now has three fosters and two adopted children, told WXIN-TV.

She supports Senate Bill 233, which would give foster parents more rights.

"Some of the parents want to be involved in the plan, want to know some of the history of the children and right now they don't feel DCS is providing that to them, so I think this bill of rights will put it all out there in writing," said state Sen. Jon Ford, R-Terre Haute.

Ford said, if passed, his bill would require DCS to form a committee of foster parents and childrens' agencies to work together and write the bill of rights.

At least 17 states have enacted similar measures.

"They're dealing with these kids day in day out they should have a voice a say, in the plan of this," Ford said.