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November 14, 2013

Helping 'scared little boys and girls'

Foster parent emphasizes need in Cass County.

The Cass County Department of Child Services is trying to recruit more foster parents for area children.

Although it's not always easy and can be a give-and-take process, Julie Rottet has found being a foster parent rewarding.

Rottet first became a foster parent about 16 years ago. It eventually led to the adoption of the child who was placed in her home.

After not taking in any additional children for a few years, Rottet and her husband decided to begin again. They currently have four foster children.

The Cass County Department of Child Services is pushing for foster parents, like Rottet, to provide homes so children are able to stay in an area familiar to them.

There are more than 4,600 abused or neglected children in Indiana currently living in non-relative foster homes because it is unsafe for them to live in their own homes, according to a press release for the Cass County DCS.

In Cass County, 19 abused or neglected children live in foster homes, the release said. In Cass County, there are currently about 15 homes that are licensed and most are at capacity, according to a local specialist.

Kathy Phipps, foster care specialist with the Cass County DCS, said there is a push to recruit additional foster parents so children can remain in Cass County – an area they call home.

“Our policy is we want to keep kids in their home and if that’s not possible, with family members,” Phipps said. “Sixty-six percent of the time we’re allowed to do that — the other 34 percent we’re trying to fill that gap and find a nurturing family.”

In the case of unfortunate removals, if there isn't a home available in Cass County, they have to be moved elsewhere, said Brian Brown, director of Cass County DCS.

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