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Strengthening Resources for Kentucky Families

Far too many children in our state are in unstable and sometimes abusive homes. At the same time, we now have over 8,600 children in our foster care system. It is going to take a collaborative effort to address these problems and ensure that Kentucky ...

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Strengthening Resources for Kentucky Families Contact: Nicole Burton 502-564-2611 FRANKFORT, Ky(Feb5, 2018) – The well-being of children in our state is of paramount importance to meAs I have said since my husband and I were first entrusted to serve the Commonwealth, our hearts are with Kentucky familiesThat’s why I am so passionate about my initiatives to improve conditions for children in foster care and to make the adoption process easier and more affordableWe have made strides in both areas. Our Fostering Success program is now in its second yearI am proud of the 130 young people that have graduated from this collaborative initiative that provides those ageing out of the foster care system with job training and leadership skillsFictive Kin legislation was passed and signed into law by my husband as wellThis allows children who need a safe haven to be placed with a teacher, coach or other adult mentor that may already have a loving relationship with the child.  Fictive kin provide a safe, stable environment within the child’s own community where they have familiarity and a comfort level with those who will care for themFinally, a new law in Kentucky allows foster youth to obtain their driver’s license without requiring a parent’s signatureThis provides foster teens with the mobility to get to and from school or work and is an instrumental part in moving them toward adulthood. These are positive and impactful steps, but the journey toward our goals is only beginningFar too many children in our state are in unstable and sometimes abusive homesAt the same time, we now have over 8,600 children in our foster care systemIt is going to take a collaborative effort to address these problems and ensure that Kentucky children and youth receive the care they needIt is also going to require fundingThat is why Governor Bevin’s budget allocates money in three key areas relating to Kentucky families. First, $24 million was budgeted for our DCBS Permanency and Protection workersThese workers are on the front linesThese workers deal with issues that take an emotional toll on themThey are dedicated and care deeply about the families they work withThey visit homes, witness the unstable conditions some of our state’s children are facing and in some cases must remove a child from the household.  Currently, they face daunting caseloads, and many good and experienced DCBS employees are becoming discouragedSome are leaving to seek other employmentThe funds allocated for DCBS will provide encouragement through better compensation while relieving overwhelming caseloads by creating new positions. Secondly, the budget includes $5.1 million to restore our state’s Kinship Care programIn many instances, next of kin are willing to provide a home for children who have been displacedHowever, when a child is suddenly placed in a home, it can create a financial strain on their new guardiansIn the past, the state provided financial support to family members who were willing to open their homes to these childrenHowever, the program was placed on moratorium in 2013 due to budget concernsThis program benefits children by allowing them to remain with family members and benefits the state by not forcing these kids into an already crowded foster care system. Finally, the budget includes funds to support adoption in KentuckyAs we saw during the President’s State of the Union Address, when baby Hope and her adoptive parents were featured, no foster care or government program can take the place of a loving forever homeThe funds budgeted to facilitate adoptions will return priceless dividends to the future of Kentucky. I recognize and appreciate the importance and complexity of determining the budget for the CommonwealthThe process is deliberate and collaborative, and that’s as it should be because the budget touches the lives of every KentuckianI also recognize that there are many important programs for our state and a finite amount of moneyYet it is my deepest hope that the General Assembly will retain the funds proposed for these three programsSurely, no area of the budget can be more critical or return greater dividends than an investment in our children. *Note: To download a high-resolution photo of First Lady Glenna Bevin, please click here. ?? 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