Governor Matt Bevin, Secretary Vickie Yates Brown Glisson of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, and Commissioner Adria Johnson of the Department of Community Based Services announced a new program that will serve as a pipeline for success for over 100 youth aging out of the foster care system.
Fostering Success will include a ten-week workforce training and mentoring program with the goal of linking youth ages 18 to 23 to additional employment opportunities as they exit the care of the state. They will receive computer and customer service training and work in local DCBS offices across Kentucky.
This week’s announcement of Fostering Success is a major win for Kentucky children for three reasons:
First, the substance of this announcement, in and of, itself is powerful. Fostering Success means that dozens of young people across the Commonwealth – who have had a very tough life to date – will have shots at real opportunities and a real future. The solid thinking around employment, housing, transportation, and personal supports is a winning combination for the youth and for the communities in which these young people will emerge as productive citizens.
Secondly, this announcement carries powerful symbolism around the Bevin Administration’s noble commitment to fundamentally reform the child welfare system. This kind of work with youth aging out, when combined with the Governor’s thinking on issues like family preservation and kinship care, is a prelude to an era of unprecedented wins for the most vulnerable children amongst us.
Finally, this effort is a reminder that children’s issues cannot – and should not – be siloed. It simply cannot be lost that multiple Cabinets on multiple fronts are the drivers behind this project. For far too long, attention to children – even when well-intended – has been fragmented. The kind of cross-Cabinet effort this represents is exactly what we need more of if we are to address core issues facing Kentucky’s kids and families.