Legislators should pass protections for foster parents

A bill that deserves to become state law is based on crimes that took place in northeast Indiana.

In 2014 and again last year, the foster parents for a Noble County child became the targets of anonymous threats — in one instance threatening to shoot the foster mother.

State Rep. Dennis Zent, R-Angola, has responded with a bill aimed at increasing protections for foster parents.

Zent’s bill allows a petition to be filed with a juvenile court to order a person to refrain from contact with a member of a foster family home.

It also makes it a Level 6 felony if battery is committed against a member of a foster family home by a relative of a person living in that foster family home.

In the case that inspired the bill, much more than battery was threatened against the foster parents, who also live in the four-county region of northeast Indiana.

On May 13, 2014, the foster father received a phone call from a person threatening to harm him because he was caring for the child.

Then on April 17, 2015, the foster mother received death threats in text messages and was stalked in person while she was shopping at a Home Depot store on Lima Road in Fort Wayne.

The text messages to the foster mother indicated she would be shot if she did not give up the child. The messages gave very specific details about her whereabouts, which could be known only by someone who was stalking her.

This was distributed by Hoosier State Press Association. Send comments to awoods@tribtown.com.