Kentucky’s most desperate kids could lose out unless lawmakers act
Elizabeth L. Croney KVC Behavioral HealthCare Kentucky
Unless Kentucky’s lawmakers take action soon, children in our community and across the Commonwealth will lose out on $9.2 million in matching federal dollars to care for victims of child abuse and neglect. We can’t afford to let that happen; the need is simply too great.
Securing the money would require Kentucky’s lawmakers to put a greater priority on the thousands of broken and battered children who have been placed in the state’s custody because of parental abuse and neglect.
To get the matching dollars, Kentucky must find an additional $13.5 million in the state’s $10 billion annual budget to help the dozens of non-profit agencies that provide love, care and shelter for more than 3,600 children each day.
To put it in perspective, that’s setting aside five more quarters from a bucket filled with 4,000 quarters for some of the most damaged and desperate children in our hometowns.
We at KVC Kentucky are proud to stand up for Kentucky kids on this important issue. We’re joining more than 30 non-profit agencies who are part of Children’s Alliance, the voice for Kentucky’s most vulnerable children.
Our agencies fulfill the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s mandated responsibility to care for children whose parents haven’t properly cared for them. We do the job with trained foster parents in this community and caring professionals on residential campuses across the state.
The state budget doesn’t provide enough money to cover all the costs of care, so the member agencies of the Children’s Alliance raise nearly $20 million a year from more than 60,000 citizens, businesses, churches and foundations. And we work diligently to make sure those dollars – and every dollar we receive – provide the best quality care for the children we serve.
But our agency and other Children’s Alliance members are struggling to keep up with the growing demand and increased costs to serve kids in need. Without additional funding, some agencies may be forced to reduce the care they provide – or shut down completely.
However, with the additional state and federal funding we seek, agencies will make essential investments in these key areas:
In-home family preservation – Agencies will have additional resources to work with families in crisis, providing mental health counseling, training in parenting skills and other services to keep children safe and preserve the family.
Therapeutic foster care –Agencies can expand their community-based foster care programs to serve additional children and keep them in or near their hometowns and extended families.
Residential Treatment services –Children who need the most intensive care, such as psychological treatment and medication, can be served with additional services and staff at campuses across the state.
If you believe that Kentucky should invest a little more in our littlest citizens, call or email your state legislators.
To make your voice heard, go to www.lrc.ky.gov and click on the “Who’s My Legislator” button. Or call 1-800-372-7181 and leave a message for your legislator.
Tell them you are standing up for thousands of bruised and broken kids across Kentucky. Tell them to invest in our future by investing in our children today.
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