An annual conference for Indiana youth workers was held in Indianapolis this week. It’s the largest gathering for these workers in the Midwest with over 1,300 attendees this year.
The Indiana Youth Institute has hosted The Because KIDS COUNT Conference for 16 years. CEO Tami Silverman says it’s a chance for Hoosiers who work with children in many settings including schools, foster care, after school or crisis centers to come together.
“The thing that’s exciting and unique about that is that we know it takes all of those components together to really impact a community and really help kids,” says Silverman.
Workers choose from almost 80 different workshops. National speakers also provide training sessions.
One of the focus topics this year is the increased number of children entering the foster care system because of substance use disorders.
Silverman says the problem is growing.
“We know right now the number of children being placed in foster care, that have been removed from their homes is a tremendous challenge right now and so many of those programs touch in some way those children have been removed,” Silverman says.
State leaders also addressed attendees this year to emphasis their policy priorities on this front.