More than 8600 children in our Commonwealth currently reside in foster care. That is more than the population of 16 of our Kentucky counties.
Think about that.
Many of these children are awaiting adoption; others remain in foster care, since parental rights have not been terminated. They need our help – the children, and the families who foster them.
Clearly these ever-growing numbers should be of concern to all Kentuckians; the financial cost to the state and families is but one of the considerations as the numbers increase due to several factors, not the least of which is the opiod scourge that has ripped families apart.
The bureaucracy that confounds all but the hardiest of souls who dare to brave the red tape of the adoption process is astonishingly daunting; many of us know someone who would adopt but have found the process too burdensome.
However, there is hope. Gov. Matt Bevin’s State of the Commonwealth speech brought this issue even more into the spotlight, and this is an issue also dear to First Lady Glenna Bevin. More people have become aware of the problem, and many want to help. But how?
There are several options. If you’ve been considering becoming a foster family, there are trainings available to assist you in this process. The Division of Community Based Services has nine area offices; find yours at https://prdweb.chfs.ky.gov/Office_Phone/index.aspx and contact them to get more information about fostering or about adoption. Also, these offices often need supplies, like diapers and baby wipes. You can donate those at an Area office; contact them to ask what supplies they need. A great project for community and youth groups!
Maybe you aren’t quite ready to foster, but would be willing to provide respite for a foster family. The stress on these families is often an issue, and they could use a break. Or maybe your local church or community would consider providing respite for foster families.
To ask about assisting with any of these options or foster/respite training, you can visit http://chfs.ky.gov/dcbs/dpp/ or call the Division of Community Based Services at (502) 564-3703, and they will direct you to the appropriate office.
Lastly, there’s HB1, passed by the House and sent to the Senate. The purpose is to reduce some of the obstacles preventing the union of kids who need a good home and the generous families willing to take them in. Contact your legislators to ask them to untangle the boondoggle and streamline the adoption and fostering process. Call the Legislative Message line at 502-372-7181 and ask ALL Senators to SUPPORT HB 1. It’s a great step in the right direction.
Please, be part of the hope, the solution to this problem from Paducah to Pikeville – We Are Kentucky!