FISHERS, Ind.– Indiana has the highest number of children in the foster care system compared to other states in the Midwest and a local family is on a mission to change that.
Cooper House was opened to provide a safe space for parents to enjoy supervised visit with their children. Kyle and Brooke Howe were inspired to open the house after becoming foster parents in 2016.
“The brokenness and the trauma that a lot of these parents deal with and go through and gave the vision of this home, Cooper House,” Brooke said.
The house is free for families to use and also provides support groups and a place for children to stay during emergency removal.
“As of right now in Indiana, we have approximately 14,000 children in care,” said Lyndsay Krauter, Local Office Director for Hamilton County Department of Childhood Services.
She says Cooper House is the first of its kind in central Indiana.
It’s helping parents like Chuck Stalanaker, who visits with his two children every other week.
“These people gave us a place to visit our kids while things get worked out,” said Stalanaker. “It helps me tremendously. Gave us a place locally”
The house also provides support groups and emergency removal support for department of child services.
“For kids that get removed, they can come here and shower, hang out and be kids until a placement is found for them,” said Danielle Baum, Director of Operations at the Cooper House.
“This is about the whole family, it’s not just about the kids,” Kyle said.
“The goal of foster care is to reunify these children with their families,” Brooke said. “That’s not always going to be the case, we adopted our boys. But that’s the initial goal of foster care until parents prove otherwise.”
Cooper House is free for families in the county to use.
To learn more about foster care, click here.