#CCHACares: The Villages

POST DATE: 12.12.22

CCHA is excited to feature The Villages as our final #CCHACares feature of 2022. We feel this organization is more than worthy of recognition and praise, given the long history they have of working to provide Indiana youth with a helpful hand and a safe home.

We were also proud to "adopt" two families this year, and reward both with gifts for the holidays.

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Their Why

The Villages’ mission is to champion every child’s right to a safe, permanent, and nurturing home. They are committed to strengthening all families and to embracing the dignity and diversity of every child, youth, and family served.

As one of the state’s largest not-for-profit child and family services agencies, the organization serves more than 2,700 children and their families every single day. They also serve as a partner agency to United Way of Central Indiana, which is committed to sustaining vital human services for those who need them most.

Further, their team is committed to racial justice, equity, and inclusion of all marginalized groups. The Villages is committed to continue to fight racism, to use an equity lens to guide their organizational and Public Policy Work, and to be intentional, each and every day, about eliminating disparities for all marginalized groups. To create and maintain a culture of inclusion and equity by engaging authentic voices of those with lived experiences, The Villages utilizes its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan to help guide the organization to better reflect and promote the thoughts and ideas of diverse staff. This commitment is a covenant between their dedicated staff, volunteers, foster, adoptive, and kinship families, Board of Directors, and the 11,000 lives they feel privileged to touch each year.

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Their History

The Villages has a long history of helping families.

In the 1960s, Dr. Karl Menninger established homes for neglected youth in Kansas, Michigan, and Indiana. It was his work that became the basis for The Villages of Indiana, which was first established in 1978 by the Lilly Endowment Initiative.

The Villages opened their first family model group home in April of 1980, in Bedford, Indiana. The home was built with funds from a Lilly Endowment grant on a parcel of land donated by Dr. John Pless. Since then, they have grown dramatically—from that single group home in Bedford to 16 offices located throughout Indiana. We invite you to review other meaningful organization milestones here.

In collaboration with Early Learning Indiana, The Villages helped launch the Early Head Start program at the Indianapolis Children’s Village child care center, in 2015. That same year, The Villages received its first $1 million grant from Lilly Endowment as part of the Be Bold Initiative.

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As of 2018, and as one of two child and family services agencies to be selected by The Lilly Endowment to receive a transformational $10 million sustainability grant, The Villages is positioned to enjoy financial stability for years to come.

In the past five years, The Villages has placed more than 350 children with forever families, and over 90% of those children were adopted by their Villages foster family. It’s proof of their commitment to providing stability for vulnerable youth—and helping give them more opportunities to grow.

Their Team

The Villages is proud to have a statewide team of 274 employees, all honored by the task of making sure the team stays true to their mission: providing children with stable, loving homes. All members of the team believe that by working to support everyone involved in the adoption and foster processes, The Villages is able to deliver better outcomes and build stronger families.

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“I am in constant awe of our Villages team. They work tirelessly each and every day, going above and beyond to make sure our foster families have 24/7 support, new parents have the resources needed for healthy, happy babies, older youth have a support system, and participants in our other programs have the assistance needed to ensure safe, nurturing homes for each vulnerable child in Indiana,” said Shannon Schumacher, The Villages’ President and CEO.

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Their Work

The Villages is proud to offer an extensive list of family support services, ranging from childcare centers, to community-based services and beyond.

Childcare Centers

The Villages is pleased to own and operate Children’s Village, a childcare center in southwest Indianapolis. For over 25 years Children’s Village has shared their commitment to supporting parents and creating environments in which children and families thrive. Their childcare professionals provide a safe space for children, ages 0 through Pre-K, to play, learn, discover, and grow.

Children’s Village provides a holistic, child-first education that combines individual creativity with group activities like gymnastics, nature walks, and time on the playground. A playful approach to learning is structured by curriculum and enriched by caring teachers who work to accommodate each child’s specific developmental needs.

Community-Based Services

The Villages works with partners like Lilly Endowment and United Way of Central Indiana to identify emerging needs in our communities and find new ways to meet them. These services help provide counseling and therapy, homemaker and parent aid, care and treatment planning and review, and many other necessary services to support families.

Dads, Inc.

Dads Inc. helps support fathers by creating opportunities that strengthen the bond between fathers and their children, encouraging more positive relationships. They offer programs and events that are activity-based and constantly changing, each with an education component that provides creative, fun, and unique opportunities for dads and kids to spend quality time together.

Healthy Families

The Villages’ Healthy Families program helps parents and children grow together by building confidence, reducing stress, and maximizing the joy of parenthood. The Villages know that parenting is the most difficult and important job anyone can have. They also believe that parents need support and encouragement, and have the right to voice their own needs and determine what services and programs are best suited to help them.

Kinship Care

The Villages’ Family Connection Network works to help empower kinship families so that they can achieve a stable, positive family experience. Since its inception in 2002, The Villages Family Connection Network has been funded by several community partners across the country to provide supportive services to kinship families. These collaborations have led to the creation of an array of services to support informal and formal kinship families.

Older Youth

The path to adulthood isn’t always clear for older teenagers in foster care. That’s why The Villages offers support and services that can help older youth transition into adulthood. This support can include things like helping them prepare for college, apply for jobs, find housing, and manage money. It also means helping them find resources to develop a solid foundation for adulthood, and teaching them the skills they need to maintain independence.

Prevent Child Abuse Indiana

Prevent Child Abuse Indiana is a division of The Villages that works to stop child abuse and neglect, enhancing the quality of life for all kids. PCAI works with groups throughout the community and state to expand and disseminate information about child abuse prevention. It also turns that information into action through the development of sound child-and family-oriented policies, community-based prevention activities, public awareness, and educational initiatives.


The Villages has helped place hundreds of children into permanent families, and if you’re interested in adoption they’d like to help you, too.

Support The Villages

If you are looking to get involved with The Villages, there are plenty of ways to do so.

Donate to The Villages

Make a gift to support the children and families The Villages serves.

Volunteer with The Villages

Volunteers play a significant and valuable role in supporting the children and families served by The Villages. Their greatest need is for reliable and regularly available volunteers to assist in carrying out their mission, statewide.

All interested in becoming volunteers must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be required to complete multiple background checks, including fingerprinting, a physical and complete training
  • Adhere and agree to our Volunteer Confidentiality Statement