INDIANAPOLIS – On Monday, the Senate Committee on Family and Children Services unanimously approved State Senator David Niezgodski’s (D-South Bend) Senate Bill (SB) 398. This bill aims to improve the effectiveness of the Department of Child Services (DCS) by requiring the agency to give necessary funding to all adoptive parents of eligible special needs children. Sen. Niezgodski’s legislation was authored in response to the concerns of adoptive families who could not obtain the necessary funds from DCS to care for their children.

“Adoptive families need financial support for the children they love, but currently, many are not receiving nearly enough to care for them,” Sen. Niezgodski said. “Financial limitations should not stand in the way of parents who want to adopt children and bring them into a loving home.”

Some children in the foster care system have moderate to severe health problems, learning disabilities, and physical and mental impairments. These children with special needs could require access to medical care, special equipment, counseling, tutoring programs, and other treatments.

“Foster parents of a child with disabilities currently face losing any helpful state funding if they decide to adopt and may not do so for this reason,” Sen. Niezgodski said. “I believe it is my duty – and the duty of the Indiana legislature – to protect our most abandoned and vulnerable children. We can do better, and we must do better.”

With the deadline to hear bills in committee approaching this Thursday, there will likely not be sufficient time to hear SB 398 in the Appropriations Committee where the proposal was recommitted due to its fiscal impact. However, Sen. Niezgodski is hopeful there will be another opportunity for this proposal to be moved through the legislature this session.