Policies in Indiana

Foster Parents' Rights in Court Proceedings

In 2019, the Indiana legislature enacted SB 1 providing foster parents with a right to intervene in court proceedings and request additional hearings under certain circumstances. Specifically, in cases in which a child has been in foster care for 15 of the most recent 22 months and a TPR petition has not been filed, the bill allows a foster parent, relative of the child or de facto custodian with whom the child has been placed for at least six months to file a notice with the court that a TPR petition has not been filed and requires the court to schedule a hearing within 30 days. In addition, the new law requires DCS and the office of judicial administration to jointly file a report with the General Assembly before July 1, 2020 to include information concerning its progress in providing training and technical assistance to judicial officers on foster parents’ statutory right to be heard through oral or written testimony to the court. 

The bill also: 

  • Requires DCS and the office of judicial administration, in collaboration with foster parents and other stakeholders, to prepare a form that may be used by foster parents and other interested persons entitled to notice of court reviews to provide written testimony to the court.
  • Requires DCS court reports to include information gathered from the foster parent regarding the child’s progress.
  • Requires DCS to make a reasonable effort to place children who re-enter foster care with the family with whom the child was first placed, if appropriate and in the child’s best interest.

For more information, see bill summary.