News and HeadlinesIndianapolis Local News

Actions

9th annual 'Youth Conference' encourages Indiana's foster youth to dream big

Officials say the number of kids in foster care in the state is declining.
foster success
Posted at 7:21 PM, Jun 13, 2024

INDIANAPOLIS — On Thursday, more than 100 teens and young adults were at the Indiana Youth Advisory Board's ninth annual Youth Conference.

The conference is the only one in the state for those transitioning out of foster care.

yc.jpg

"It may feel challenging but there’s a way out, you will make it," said Praise Ferguson, who transitioned out of the system and has been working with Foster Success.

Foster Success is a state-based organization that works with foster youth across Indiana. They help them find their footing when they age out of the system.

The organization connects people to educational, occupational and financial tools.

Ferguson says she first went into the foster care system when she was seven. She's now 23-years-old and living on her own.

yc2.jpg

"I was not used to giving people hugs or handshakes, so when they welcomed me in with open arms, I felt very welcomed," said Ferguson. "They didn’t judge me or make me feel like I didn't belong. They gave me confidence, made me feel better about myself."

Maggie Stevens, the president of Foster Success, says in recent years, Indiana has been at the top of the list when it comes to the number of kids in foster care. Those numbers have been trending downward over the last six years.

WATCH | One local family discusses relationships built through the foster care system

One Local Family Discusses Relationships Built through the Foster Care System

According to DCS, there are more than 13,000 kids in needs of services in Indiana and they'll spend an average of 483 days in foster care.

"The reality is, we still have 500 young people every single year aging out of foster care and needing the support to be an adult, so what we try to do is meet with the young people where they are," said Stevens.

If you would like to be a foster parent, click here.