General Assembly should improve state systems supporting foster youth

March 8, 2023 7:00 am

Foster Success President & CEO Maggie Stevens, left, poses with teens and young adults with foster care experience and Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch on February 2, 2023 at the Indiana Statehouse during the organization’s inaugural Day at the Statehouse event. (Courtesy of Foster Success)

The 2023 Indiana General Assembly session is at the half-way point, and measures to support the teens and young adults transitioning out of foster care in Indiana continue to move through the legislature. 

At Foster Success, we ensure that the 24,000 teens and young adults transitioning out of the state’s system are healthy, stable, and have the tools they need to succeed. A big part of that is improving the systems that surround them through change at the state level. 

Our efforts and our impact increase each year as we grow our team and support more young people with foster care experience. Last year, we directly supported 800 teens and young adults across the state, and we plan to support at least 1,000 this year. 

Having a presence at the Statehouse is important, and including the voices of individuals who experienced foster care in every conversation is even more vital. Their lived experience in the system is something most of us don’t have and can’t fully comprehend, so we empower them to speak for themselves and for their peers. 

We hosted a Day at the Statehouse in February for lawmakers to hear directly from those who have spent time in foster care and learn how they can better support them. 

Foster Success is focusing on four key initiatives this session, including increasing access to affordable driving for Indiana’s older youth. 

We will not rest until all young people with foster care experience are on an equal playing field with their peers, until their needs are met and their voices are heard.

Last year, the Indiana General Assembly created the Insuring Foster Youth Trust Fund to improve access to legal driving and increase self-sufficiency and access to educational and employment opportunities for Indiana’s older youth. This year, we are looking to provide base funding to the trust fund.

We also hope to reduce barriers to entry into the State Auto Insurance Plan for older foster youth. The goal is to get more teens and young adults on the road to their futures safely. 

With partner organizations, we are working to encourage high-quality legal representation for older foster youth throughout their foster care experience. Oftentimes, children and teens don’t understand that they can and should ask for their own attorney – separate from their family’s and the state’s – to advocate for their interests. 

To encourage more giving to non-profit child welfare organizations like Foster Success, we are advocating to increase private support for them, and to extend and improve the Foster Care Tax Credit the General Assembly created in 2021. 

And of course, at the forefront of everything we do, is ensuring young peoples’ basic needs are met. We are keeping a close eye on all housing, mental health care, and education-related legislation to ensure that young people transitioning out of foster care are healthy and safe, and have the same opportunities as their peers. 

We will not rest until all young people with foster care experience are on an equal playing field with their peers, until their needs are met and their voices are heard. 


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Maggie Stevens
Maggie Stevens

Dr. Maggie Stevens is the President & CEO of Foster Success, an Indiana-based nonprofit that provides financial, educational and social support to foster care youth at a most critical time - when they are about to or have already transitioned out of the foster care system, most often with no family or economic support. Each year in Indiana, about 500 youth age out of the foster care system and into our communities. More information about Foster Success can be found at