SB-176-bill-signingIn Kentucky, family values are more than just talk. That’s why more than 59,000 children are being raised by grandparents, aunts, uncles and other extended family members – also known as kinship care. Research shows that when children cannot live safely with their parents, they fare better with relatives than in foster care. Yet, Kentucky’s kinship families face economic, legal and emotional challenges. They need state leaders to remove unnecessary barriers and ensure they have the supports they need to thrive.

Thanks to the leadership of Senator Denise Harper Angel, our 2014 General Assembly recognized a major challenge facing kinship families and stepped up to the plate by unanimously passing Senate Bill 176. This legislation allows a relative caregiver who does not have legal custody or guardianship of the child they have stepped up to raise to enroll the child in school and access educational services and health care for the child. For example, with this law, Adele Flanery’s grandson would not have had to wait 7 months to get tubes in his ears. As his primary caregiver, she would have had the ability to authorize the surgery for him in his mother’s absence – read more about their story here.

On April 14, we joined Governor Steve Beshear, Senator Denise Harper Angel and some key advocates for kinship families for the ceremonial signing of Senate Bill 176. We thank all of our partners in the Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children who worked to make this legislation possible. We also thank our partners in the newly formed Coalition for Kinship Families of Kentucky. And most of all, we are grateful to Senator Denise Harper Angel for championing this piece of legislation.