“I had not planned for this in life so it was rather draining, financially.”

These are the words of a Fayette County grandmother interviewed by WTVQ news about the importance of the support she receives from Kentucky’s Kinship Care Program which helps her step up to raise her three grandchildren. See the link to the full story here. The program offers $300 per month, per child to relatives and other kin who are raising children for a number of reasons — parental death, military deployment, drug addiction, mental or physical illness, incarceration, child abuse or neglect, homelessness, and more.

As the news story points out, this grandmother is one of the lucky ones who will be able to continue participating in the program. But after April 1, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services will stop offering these payments to new families in order to close an $86 million shortfall in its budget. In addition, it will dramatically reduce childcare subsidies to low-income parents.

With April 1 rapidly approaching, it’s more important than ever for Governor Beshear to hear about the impact of these cuts on children and families in the Commonwealth. Tough times are the most important times to protect kids. Research shows that kinship care is the most effective and least expensive way to prepare maltreated children and youth for adulthood.

The grandmother in the video goes on to describe the prospect of having to send her grandchildren into foster care. “It’s sickening. Those babies love me and I can’t imagine sending them to strangers. That would just kill me.” For many grandparents and other relatives who are on the edge financially, this could be the very choice they have to face if the proposed cuts become a reality. We all need to step up to ensure that this doesn’t happen.

Here’s a quick way you can take action today. Sign-on to a letter to Governor Beshear asking him to protect children from cuts and ensure that the April 1 cuts to the Kinship Care program do not go into effect.

Please sign the letter, forward it to your networks, and make sure your representatives know where you stand on the issue. Sign the letter here by March 25.