State’s foster care providers get boost

Published 3:30 pm Friday, May 5, 2023

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Gov. Andy Beshear announced his administration is providing $41.5 million to support the state’s foster children and those who provide them care during his weekly press conference at the Capitol on Thursday.

“Due to concerted efforts by our administration and everyone who works in this field, Kentucky is experiencing a drop in children in foster care, something that we’ve all worked to see.  We reduced the number of children in foster care to less than 8,500 after it peaked in 2020 to over 10,000 of our Kentucky children.”

The funds will start being distributed this month to 45 providers and their 120-plus foster care agencies to help them provide critical care to foster children across the state.

Beshear said the money is coming from two sources. A one-time allocation of $21.5 million, which is available due to cost savings secured by the administration. That will go out this month to the 45 providers.

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The governor announced he signed an emergency regulation to allocate $20 million from the state budget to the same providers and agencies for a higher monthly reimbursement rate, the second such increase this year. It will also begin in May and continue monthly going forward.

Both the one-time payment and the higher monthly reimbursement rate amounts are based on the number of children served and the level of care provided, which is calculated by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

“Every child is a child of God,” Beshear said. “And they deserve our very best.”

Although Beshear, a Democrat, and the Republican-controlled legislature do not always see eye to eye on issues, he said everyone contributed to making this happen, including lawmakers.

“I want to make sure and thank the General Assembly who appropriated the overall dollars.  They were put in the budget as a significant investment, and that budget contained the flexibility to be able to use those dollars the way we are providing them today.”

He also thanked the foster parents and everyone who works in the system.

Sunrise Children’s Services, an agency of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, is one of the 45 providers that will receive funding. It comes at a critical time, said Dale Suttles, president of Sunrise.

“The bottom line is there’s such a crisis in Kentucky right now,” Suttles said. “Kids are sleeping in offices, state parks and there’s nowhere to put teenagers. This is to keep up with the inflationary rate. They raised the per diem and it was much needed to keep up with the times.”

Many foster care providers are struggling to meet the cost of care and several closed recently, based on initial information from a study, the governor’s office said Thursday in a news release.