Legislators fail to take care of special needs kids
Thursday, March 20, 2014 11:00 AM
Our state legislators once again have failed to provide help to a group of individuals who are most deserving.
The General Assembly again failed to restore a state subsidy to help parents adopting special needs children.
For several years now, the state has dangled hope that financial aid would be available.
But, for the fifth year in a row, the issue died without a vote. And the 1,400 families on the state's waiting list for an adoption subsidy remain on hold.
It's hard to fathom this state of affairs: Consider that Indiana, where Gov. Mike Pence talks about a pro-adoption agenda, is the only state in the nation that doesn't offer such support.
State Sen. John Broden, D-South Bend, said that this year's failure is frustrating. It also says something about the state's priorities that it can't reinstate assistance for young Hoosiers who need more support than most of us can imagine.
Indiana's adoption subsidy was cut in 2009 by then-Department of Children Services Director James Payne, who was known to say that "People should adopt for love, not money."
But findings from a survey by Children's Rights underscore how critical adoption subsidies are: 58 percent of respondents said they could not have adopted without a subsidy. And from a practical, bottom line perspective, the research indicates that subsidies result in substantial governmental savings compared to the costs of foster care.
=You can argue whether the more than 35 percent drop in Indiana adoptions between 2011 and 2013 is connected to the suspension of subsidies for special needs children. But there's no question that the state has failed in its obligation to the 1,400 families on the waiting list for a subsidy it hasn't delivered. And that's inexcusable.