Statement by Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates
House Bill 2 is an important affirmation of the thousands of grandparents and other relatives stepping up to care for children who cannot remain safely with their parents. Children who’ve experienced abuse or neglect do better when they are placed with relatives as they experience less trauma when separated from parents, less disruption to their education, and fewer behavioral issues.
While HB 2 is a clear win for these relative caregiver heroes, it is also a reminder of how much more Kentucky needs around kinship care. As the Bevin Administration launches its transformation of child welfare – and that effort is, in fact, a positive sea change – we need to see the same vigor applied to kinship care as is rightfully being applied to foster care and adoption. Kinship families need cornerstone supports like financial assistance, respite care, and on-the-ground training opportunities. We agree with the Administration that every Kentucky kid needs a family – and believe that kinship families are a lynchpin in that proposition.
We are especially pleased HB 2 establishes the much needed reporting mechanism to help provide accurate and up-to-date numbers on “the state of kinship care,” which is imperative for accountability, efficiency, and strategic planning.
We thank Representative Chris Fugate and Representative Matt Castlen for championing HB 2 and members of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee for unanimously supporting this measure. And we would remind the General Assembly and the Administration that this measure must be a strong launch of additional steps we must take to ensure a quality infrastructure around the Commonwealth’s rich tapestry of kinship families.
Stay up-to-date on Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children priorities and other bills that are good for kids on our Kentucky General Assembly Bill Tracker.
About Kentucky Youth Advocates
Kentucky Youth Advocates believes all children deserve to be safe, healthy, and secure. As THE independent voice for Kentucky’s children, we work to ensure policymakers create investments and policies that are good for children. Learn more at www.kyyouth.org.