Friday, December 22, 2006

Support and resources for relative caregivers

READERS' FORUM; 'Improve resources' for caregivers who are relatives
Young, Joanna. Louisville Courier-Journal, Jan. 3, 2006, pg. A6.

With 6,000 Kentucky children in foster care, our child welfare system is bursting at the seams.

For 20 percent of Kentucky children entering foster care, a relative provides a vulnerable child with a friendly face and a familiar home. Relative caregivers can help children maintain community and family ties in ways that foster parents aren't always able.

While relative caregivers are generous with their homes and hearts, not all have the extra income to feed and clothe additional children, especially those with medical or behavioral needs requiring specialized care.

State Rep. Larry Clark has introduced a bill to assist families taking in child relatives who have been abused or neglected. The KinCare Support Program legislation would improve resources for relative caregivers, as well as giving them the authority to make certain decisions regarding the child's well-being.

Kentucky has been fortunate to avoid the famous child welfare tragedies of states where the system is stretched beyond its limits. Let's keep it that way by supporting people who ease the strain on the system.

Kids in "the system" deserve the best shot at success, and their relative caregivers need all the resources possible to help them get there.

Kentucky Youth Advocates Fellow
Louisville 40204


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