At least it’s being talked about.  Throughout the nation grandparents and family members hoping to care for their own grandchildren and other young relatives are being ill treated by states and child protection agencies.

Kentucky has six percent of all the state’s children living with extended family (Wow) and they are finally beginning to talk about increasing support for family caregivers.  It is on fiscally irresponsible and state sponsored insensitivity to put children into foster homes with folks that have no connection, paying up to $70/day, while at the same time making it hard for grandparents with love in their hearts and a solid connection to babies and children they want badly to help raise.  Grandparents get up to $10 / day for doing the same thing.  Doesn’t seem right does it?  

New Year’s Wish: More Support for KY’s Kinship Care Families

PHOTO: A new report outlines the need for increased support for kinship caregivers in Kentucky.  Photo credit: Greg Stotelmyer.

PHOTO: A new report outlines the need for increased support for kinship caregivers in Kentucky. Photo credit: Greg Stotelmyer.

 

December 31, 2013

JEFFERSONTOWN, Ky. – In Kentucky, a lot of children are being raised by extended family members: at 6 percent of all kids, it’s one of the highest kinship-care rates in the nation. A new report from Kentucky Youth Advocates outlines what the group says needs to be done to increase support for grandparents and others raising kids who cannot safely live with their parents.

According to Jeanne Miller-Jacobs, who with her husband is raising their three grandkids, more assistance is badly needed.

“The biggest hurdle that we’ve had is misinformation,” she said. When we first got the kids, the financial part of kinship care never came up.”

She said her grandchildren, ages five, three and one, came to live with them because their parents struggle with drug addiction.

Kinship care has doubled in Kentucky in the last decade, and earlier this year, the state stopped taking new applications for its Kinship Care Program, which provides caregivers $10 a day to help meet a child’s basic needs.

According to Kentucky Youth Advocates Executive Director Terry Brooks, the freeze needs to end, because that program is a better solution than the alternative, which is foster care.

“Kids are put in situations where they’re not able to stay with relatives who love ’em” when they must go into foster care, he said. “And we’re moving them from a system that works, kinship care, to a system that costs almost $70 a day.”

The KYA report also calls for making it easier for kinship families to enroll children in school or get access to health care for them.

Jeanne Miller-Jacobs said streamlining the system would be a big help.

“I can tell you that when I had to renew the kids’ medical cards, I was there for four and a half hours – and I had an appointment.”

According to the report, 26 states have enacted health care consent laws and 14 states have enacted education consent laws.

Terry Brooks said he anticipates a bill in the 2014 legislative session to allow care-giving relatives access to children’s services without the need for legal custody or guardianship.

“Those are things that other states have done successfully, and those are practices that Kentucky needs to emulate,” Brooks stated.

That report is at KYYouth.org.

– See more at: http://www.publicnewsservice.org/2013-12-31/childrens-issues/new-years-wish-more-support-for-kys-kinship-care-families/a36526-1#sthash.m1JWCLYy.dpuf

2 Comments

  1. I, too have been raising my 17 year-old grandson since age 5 due to abuse, neglect, and mental illness. The Kinship Care was much appreciated but I feel there should AT LEAST be economic inflation factor built in. The 300.00 per month at age 17 is not nearly sufficient to care for him as it was 12 years ago. The first two years I had temporary custody so I qualified for child care assistance. Once the court granted permanent custody the assistance stopped. I was told by the cabinet that permanent custody was the same as if I had adopted him and that it was my responsibility. That cut in child care assistance really effected our quality of living. The out -of-pocket cost went from 95.00 per week to 210.00 per week! Had he been raised in a foster home that non-relative would have received 800.00 a month plus paid child care. How can a “stranger” be better qualified than alp ing grandparent who WANTS their grandchild to receive the love and care they so deserve? Thank you for giving me the chance to vent. My grandson is now a senior in high school and that 300.00 is just a drop in the bucket.

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