Indiana State University Newsroom

Girls State delegates help children impacted by meth

June 22, 2010

With donations of more than 5,000 blankets, personal care items and toys, the Hoosier Girls State delegates and staff members are helping children removed from methamphetamine-manufacturing homes.

The Indiana State Police Meth Suppression Section will use the donated items to fill backpacks for the children impacted by meth. Girls State is held at Indiana State University.

"When children are taken out of meth lab homes, they are not allowed to take any of their personal items with them because of the possibility of contamination," said Indiana State Police First Sgt. Niki Crawford.

Hoosier Girls State delegates participate in a donation project each year. When Hoosier Girls State Director Vickie Koutz contacted Crawford for a new idea, Crawford thought of the backpacks for children impacted by meth, a program she has wanted to implement for several years. The idea came from the Kentucky State Police, which distributes Wee Care Packs to children removed from meth lab homes.

By partnering with the Division of Child Services, the Indiana State Police will ensure the backpacks are distributed to the appropriate children across Indiana.

"We broke a record last year for the number of children taken out of labs-185," Crawford said.

That number is expected to increase dramatically this year. In the first three months of 2010, the ISP Meth Suppression Section removed 70 children from meth lab homes, Crawford said.

When removed from the labs, the children- under the age of 18- are left with nothing.

"I hope these ladies here understand how much they'll affect the children," Crawford said. "The children don't have control over their environment. This gives them something to have control over, something to hold onto."

The 620 Girls State delegates and 80 staff members brought the items Sunday when registration began for Hoosier Girls State, which is being held this week on the Indiana State University campus. During the week, the delegates elect city, county and state officials for a fictitious 51st state as the delegates learn how government works. The week also features public safety classes and demonstrations by Indiana State Police.

Hoosier Girls State is sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary of Indiana as a way of educating a select group of young women on the duties, right, privileges and responsibilities of citizenship. In learning about citizenship, the delegates learn about helping others through the service projects.

"When you get the community involved, it means more to people," Crawford said.

Indiana State Police Trooper Maggie Shortt and First Sgt. Niki Crawford pose with items donated by Girls State delegates for the backpack program. ISU Photo/Jennifer Sicking

Contact: Niki Crawford, Indiana State Police First Sgt., Indiana State Police Meth Suppression Office, 317-234-4591

Writer: Lana Schrock, media relations assistant, Indiana State University Communications and Marketing, 812-237-3773 or