Statement by Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates
We are encouraged by the Kentucky House’s proposed executive branch budget as it embraces a myriad of opportunities to improve the lives and futures of Kentucky kids and families. The overall proposal represents a courageous commitment to Kentucky kids. We applaud House Appropriations and Revenue Committee Chairman Steven Rudy and all members of the committee and subcommittees for their thoughtful and thorough approach to the budget.
The greatest potential in this biennial budget is reflected in the commitment to strengthening the child welfare system. The proposed House budget supports the reforms laid out in HB 1, which set forth a comprehensive plan for strengthening how Kentucky supports children impacted by abuse and neglect. We applaud the Kentucky House for retaining Governor Bevin’s $5.1 million allocation to restore the Kinship Care Program, $12.5 million to recruit additional social workers and reduce social worker caseloads, and $22.9 million for the relative foster care payments to fulfill the decision by the Sixth Circuit Court.
We appreciate the restored funding for Family Resource and Youth Services Centers (FRYSCs) in schools, which will continue the House’s commitment to some of Kentucky’s most vulnerable kids. Additionally, by shoring up funding for education, the Kentucky House took additional strides towards building a strong future for kids.
The proposed budget takes advantage of pragmatic and critical opportunities for kids. Just as importantly, the budget maintains a vision for future investments and revenue streams that will continue to be real difference-makers for Kentucky kids and families.