For many foster parents, finding affordable activities for the kids can sometimes be a challenge. Now, it might be true that the kids may simply want to park themselves in front of a TV, and on occasion that might be ok, but for those times when it’s not, may I suggest utilizing the Access Pass.
I’ll be the first to admit that I had heard of the Access Pass when we were actively fostering…but it was only three years ago that I actually took advantage of this amazing opportunity. And I’ve been kicking myself ever since that I didn’t do something about it sooner!
So…you very well may be asking: what is the Access Pass?
The Access Pass is a program for Indiana residents who receive state assistance either through Hoosier Healthwise Insurance, SNAP, CSFP, HIP or TANF assistance programs, and the pass allows the entire family (kids have to be under 21) to access several participating locations a drastically reduced price.
So to be clear: if only one member of the household is on Hoosier Healthwise Insurance (which the majority of foster children are), the entire household can utilize the Access Pass; it is NOT just for the individual receiving services.
It is free to apply for the Access Pass and it is good for one year. After enrolling (or renewing membership) in the program, families will receive an Access Pass card. So here’s the why you would want to enroll: you can visit the included locations for just $2 per family member on the account (everyone in the household MUST be listed on the account!) per visit.
The current participating locations are:
- Bellaboo’s Children’s Play & Discovery Center
- The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
- Conner Prairie
- Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art
- Indiana Historical Society
- Indiana Repertory Theatre
- Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum
- NCAA Hall of Champions
- Rhythm! Discovery Center
- Terre Haute Children’s Museum
- WonderLab Museum
So how do you apply? There are multiple places you can apply, but personally I’ve found that the Children’s Museum is the easiest location. Now, I know if you’re a current foster family, you probably have your free Children’s Museum Membership, but I need you to understand that you DO want to get the Access Pass regardless…and you CAN get it through the Children’s Museum, even if you already have a membership.
So here is a step-by-step on the process to apply for (and get!) your Access Pass (I’ve provided instructions for both online and in person applications):
Follow these steps to submit your FREE application:
- Visit https://www.childrensmuseum.org/visit/access-pass
- Add the “Access Pass” item to your cart.
- Complete the check-out process.
- Upload photos of your required documents*.
- Click “”
- Your application will be reviewed within five business days. You will receive an email after review.
Apply In Person
From the above website, you can download the form and return it along with your required documents* to the ticket counter of any of the participating organizations (except Indiana Repertory Theatre and Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum). You may also ask for a printed application at the Indiana State Museum ticket counter.
Now you might be wondering, “Kris, what ARE those required documents and how do I get them?” So let me lay it out on what you need to do so acquire them, because honestly it’s not as straightforward as you would think!
- Proof of enrollment in ONE of the qualifying programs:
- For proof of enrollment in Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), please submit the Notice of Eligibility Determination. If you need a replacement copy of your Notice for Eligibility Determination document, contact the local agency(food bank or CICOA).
- For proof of enrollment in Healthy Indiana Plan, Hoosier Healthwise Insurance, SNAP, or TANF, please submit the proof of eligibility letterissued by the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration. The letter must be issued in the primary adult cardholder’s name and verify program enrollment for the current year. Verification of benefits may also be accessed from the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration Benefits Portal, in.gov.
- Indiana state-issued photo ID card—either a driver’s license or state identification card.
The name on the photo ID must match an adult name on the letter.
Steps to Acquire Your Proof of Eligibility
Use the following as a guide for accessing your FSSA benefit account and printing your Proof of Eligibility document, which is required to enroll in the Access Pass program.
- Go to ifcem.com
- Click on “Case Information/Print Proof of Eligibility/Report a Change”
- Click “Sign up for a new account”
- Fill in your information
- Create password and set up security questions
- Check the acceptance box and click “Create Account”
- Check the email you provided to obtain the verification code
- Open email to obtain verification code. Enter the verification code in the box on the FSSA website and click continue
- Click “Go to Login”
- Enter the User ID and Password you just created. (Your User ID is your email address)
- Click “I Accept”
- Verify your information and click “Yes”
- Click on the case number that has a status of Active
From here you should be able to find your proof of eligibility, which you will then upload or return along with your form…which will them allow you to receive the Access Pass and open up a whole host of entertainment opportunities to which you may not have had ACCESS (see what I did there?).