ELKHART, Ind. (WNDU) - It's a story you've heard before, but it remains just as important: Indiana is in dire need of foster parents.
"They just want to be kids," said Jessica Brown, foster care manager at Villages of Indiana. "They want to be heard. They want to be loved. They want to be nurtured and they want to be protected. If you can do those things, that's what they need. Even if it's just for a short time."
The need for foster parents in Indiana seems to be at an all-time high, with more than 1,000 children waiting to find their forever homes
"There's a lot of kids being pulled left and right due to the opioid crisis," Brown said.
Brown is a case manager for The Villages of Indiana, and she says she receives up to 15 emails a day looking for placements but has nowhere to place the children.
"That's why there's such a need, because we don't have the orphanages," she said.
The Villages' office in Elkhart hosts monthly information sessions for those interested in becoming foster parents.
The process of becoming a foster parent can last up to a year
"It's a lengthy process, and we try to explain that, but these are children's lives, so we don't want to do anything too quickly," Brown explained.
To receive foster parent certification, potential parents must complete 20 hours of training and classes.
Brown says she has started using clips from NBC's "This Is Us" as a case study, looking at Randall and Beth Pearson's fostering process.
But Hollywood magic aside, at the end of the day, it's about one thing
"If you can love the child and try to let them be a child, no matter how hard that is for them, that's what they need," Brown said.
Some of the requirements in becoming a foster parent are you have to be 21 years old, pass a background check, show financial stability and own or rent a home that is suitable for a child.
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