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February 15, 2018

Kentucky will finally make foster care payments owed to relatives raising children; same as licensed foster families 

In a move that will help relatives providing foster care for hundreds of Kentucky children, state officials announced Tuesday they will begin making payments to those relatives under a federal court ruling that became final almost four months ago.

Relatives and some others, such as close family friends, who agree to care for children removed from homes because of abuse or neglect will receive payments of about $750 a month. Relatives and some others, such as close family friends, who agree to care for children removed from homes because of abuse or neglect will receive payments of about $750 a month.

 

That means relatives and some others, such as close family friends, who agree to care for children removed from homes because of abuse or neglect will receive payments of about $750 a month — the same amount paid to licensed foster families.

"This is fantastic news," said Lexington lawyer Richard Dawahare, who won the court case requiring such payments on behalf of a great aunt who took in two young boys. "We are so appreciative that the state is finally starting to make this happen."

The state has begun payments to Dawahare's client, officials said, and other payments will follow.

The announcement by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services follows a court ruling last year by the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals that Kentucky must pay relatives, many of them grandparents, who take in children who otherwise would go to foster care.

It applies only to relatives or others providing temporary care for such children. Payments stop once the relative obtains permanent custody or adopts the child.

The news that foster payments are now available likely will be welcomed by the many relatives throughout Kentucky, most of them grandparents, caring for the increasing number of children removed from homes. Many are on fixed or limited incomes.

"We’re talking about poor people, poor people who want to do the right thing and want to take care of their children," Dawahare said. "They are struggling, and they step up anyway and they have for years."

Kentucky has about 8,600 children who have been removed from homes because of abuse or neglect or deemed dependent because parents can't care for them.

The cabinet had come under increasing criticism from child advocates in recent weeks for not complying sooner with the court order that became final last October after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the state's appeal of the Sixth Circuit decision.

Among those pushing the cabinet to act on the foster payments was Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates.

"After a seemingly interminably delayed process, this announcement is profoundly good news for Kentucky’s families," Brooks said Tuesday.

Adria Johnson, the cabinet's commissioner for social services, told legislators in November that the cabinet was working on a way to address how to provide the foster payments.

Brooks, who said his office has been inundated with calls from people seeking information about the payments, said the state needs to ensure it identifies everyone eligible as soon as possible and fully explain how to obtain the payments.

"They have to be transparent in communication and aggressive in outreach," Brooks said. "We have to make sure they don’t leave a stone unturned to reach affected families."

Kimberly Guffy, a Logan County woman who took in two young grandchildren three years ago, said the cabinet needs to be clear about who is eligible.

She has been battling the cabinet over whether she's entitled to some assistance for the cost of the children's care. Guffy said officials recently informed her she was eligible for foster pay for the youngest child, who spent a few days in foster care before social services placed the girl with her as a newborn, but not for the older one because he was placed directly with her and was never in foster care.

"They're busy splitting hairs," Guffy said.

 

In its announcement Tuesday, the cabinet said it began foster care payments in December to the family in Dawahare's lawsuit that prompted the ruling.

The cabinet said that this month it will begin paying about 15 others who are providing temporary care for children and who have been found eligible.

Others will be paid as eligibility is determined, it said.

Dawahare confirmed his client has begun receiving foster payments on behalf of her great nephews.

"She's thrilled and thankful," Dawahare said. "It's a big help to her." 

The cabinet said that it estimates the court ruling will affect about 1,590 children whose relatives will receive about $14 million in the fiscal year that starts July 1. Costs would increase to $15 million the following year for assistance for about 1,700 children, it said.

Courier Journal reported this month that Gov. Matt Bevin's budget proposes $11.3 million in fiscal year 2019 and $11.6 million the following year for "relative placement."

The foster payments are separate from the state's Kinship Care program, a program that provides a stipend of $300 a month for a relative who obtains custody of a child removed from a home because of abuse or neglect.

That program was closed to new applicants in 2013 for budget reasons. But Bevin has proposed restoring it in his two-year budget proposal before the General Assembly.

Dawahare said the news that relatives will get payments for foster care underscores the need to reinstate Kinship Care for those who obtain permanent custody of children.

"I’m just hopeful that they’ll bring Kinship Care back," he said. "It is the single best investment they can make for the future."

Families and caregivers who think they may be eligible for foster care payments can contact the CHFS Kinship Support Hotline at 877-565-5608 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


By Deborah Yetter
The Courier-Journal

 

February 14, 2018

The Lawrence Co. Tourism Committee met for the regular meeting Monday (Feb. 12, 2018)  at 5:30pm in the second floor of the Vinson Memorial Building.

Martin Co. Historical Society members Dwayne Sweeney, Charlotte Anderson and Victor Slone, presented their current project, The Himler House, HIMLERVILLE COAL CAMP, Beauty, Ky. to the Lawrence co. Tourism Committee. Lazer photo by Gina WoodsMartin Co. Historical Society members Dwayne Sweeney, Charlotte Anderson and Victor Slone, presented their current project, The Himler House, HIMLERVILLE COAL CAMP, Beauty, Ky. to the Lawrence co. Tourism Committee. Lazer photo by Gina Woods

Local Tourism Committee members were excited to hear from their neighbors, Martin County Historical Society members Victor Slone, Dwayne Sweeney and Charlotte Anderson, who presented their current project, The Himler House, HIMLERVILLE COAL CAMP, Beauty, Ky. to the group.

The home of 1930's coal baron Martin Himler has been chosen to preserve the coal camp Magyar (Hungarian) immigrant culture of Himlerville and Appalachia. The group explained that the house would be preserved and will be placed on the National Historical Register.

"It will cost approximately $800,000 to renovate," Victor Slone said. "It will be the only Hungarian Culture​ National Landmark in the USA."

There will be a benefit concert March 1, 2018 at the MAC at Prestonsburg for this project complete with a Hungarian Band and much more.

John H. Preston ( farmer, author and playwright) from Nebo Hill in Lawrence Co. then presented to the committee a play that he had writtenJohn H. Preston ( farmer, author and playwright) from Nebo Hill in Lawrence Co. then presented to the committee a play that he had written

John H. Preston ( farmer, author and playwright) from Nebo Hill in Lawrence Co. then presented to the committee a play that he had written and is soon to be performed.

The business portion of the meeting included:

*  Motion to approve minutes from January, Chris Jobe, second by Catrina Vargo. All approved.

*  Motion to approve treasurer report by Susie Chambers, second by Brenda Hardwick. All approved.

The next event on the Tourism Committee schedule is a 'Victorian Tea Party' on April 28, 2018.

 

February 11, 2018

'A NIGHT TO SHINE'

King Brent Hill with 'date' Savanna CyrusKing Brent Hill with 'date' Savanna Cyrus


The 'Glam Squads' were out in full force for Louisa's 'A Night to Shine 2018' this weekend. The Louisa United Methodist Church, in conjunction with the Tim Tebow Foundation held their annual prom for special needs Individuals joining over 500 churches participating this year around the globe.

The church was the scene of red carpets, limos and paparazzi all for this very special cause.

Organizer Mitch Castle said, "A little over two years ago I got word that the Tim Tebow Foundation had approved the church to host the event. I had no idea the impact it would have on so many."

Castle, the Youth director at LUMC said literally hundreds of volunteers, parents, caregivers, and Kings and Queens participated.

"We have been blessed beyond our wildest dreams for three hours every year," Castle said. "To be able to host such and amazing event is an honor. If I had to jump in an ice cold lake every day just to be able to have this event I would."

Castle was referring to the "polar plunge" he and two church members took into Yatesville lake last month in below zero weather to help raise over $3,000 for the event.

"I explained it like this to someone who asked what the night was. 'I imagine heaven to be an absolutely perfect place. No worries, sorrows, frowns and nothing sad. For 3 hours on the Friday before Valentine's Day , Heaven is on top of a hill in Louisa, Ky.'. It really is the BEST NIGHT EVER."

King Rusty Maynard King Rusty Maynard

2018 Prom Queen Missy Jude and Dr. Aaron S. Kendrick 2018 Prom Queen Missy Jude and Dr. Aaron S. Kendrick


 

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