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Where else could they go? It was either us or a foster home. When you have a loving family that wants to take them in and support them there has to be something to support that. –Grandmother raising 3 grandchildren, Kenton County

Kentucky’s strong family values are exemplified by the thousands of relatives stepping up to care for children in their family. With the number of children being cared for by kin nearly doubling over the past decade, we can’t afford to let these families go unsupported. Yet, recent cuts to the Kinship Care Program pose a serious blow to the minimal support system for kinship caregivers in Kentucky and could lead to more children being placed in foster care with strangers.

As shown in the graphic, over 10,500 children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect have been placed with relatives with financial assistance from the Kinship Care Program. Research shows that children who cannot remain safely with their parents fare better in the homes of relatives. In addition, it saves the state money, as the average foster care placement costs $69 per day, compared to $10 per day for Kinship Care.

As we enter 2014, state leaders have an opportunity to support kinship families.  A new issue brief “Increasing Supports for Kinship Families in Kentucky” outlines the unique challenges faced by kinship caregivers and offers solutions to ensure the best possible outcomes for children who cannot safely stay with their parents. Recommendations include:

  • Restore funding for the Kinship Care Program
  • Enact health care and education consent laws
  • Ensure kinship families have access to existing supports
  • Inform kinship caregivers of licensing options
  • Track outcomes for children placed with relatives

Read the entire brief here.