FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky’s foster care system will be bolstered by an influx of $41.5 million in additional funding to support children and the people providing care to them, Gov. Andy Beshear said Thursday.
The extra funding will start flowing this month to the 45 providers and their 120-plus foster care agencies across the Bluegrass State to help them provide care to foster children, the governor said.
The goal is to ensure that there are plenty of providers who are “ready, willing and able to serve every child in the commonwealth,” Beshear said at his weekly news conference.
“Today’s a day we’re living out our faith and values and truly not only saying but acting upon that teaching that every child is a child of God,” he said. “Everyone is worthy. And anytime that a child has gone through trauma, it is a societal failure that we have a duty to respond to.”
The additional support stems from cost savings achieved by reducing the number of children in foster care and from funding appropriated by state lawmakers, Beshear said. The number of children in foster care in Kentucky has dropped below 8,500 after peaking at more than 10,000 in 2020, he said. The Democratic governor also credited the Republican-led legislature for its appropriations.
“It helps ensure that we can continue to nurture Kentucky kids most in need of this support,” state Health and Family Services Secretary Eric Friedlander said of the funding.
The funding comes from two sources. A one-time allocation of $21.5 million is the result of cost savings secured by his administration, the governor said. Providers will receive the one-time sustainability payment this month, he said.
Beshear also signed an emergency regulation to allocate $20 million from the state budget to the same group of providers and their foster care agencies to fund a higher monthly reimbursement rate. The rate increase — the second this year — begins this month and will continue each month after that, he said.
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,
The governor was joined by leaders of three providers for the funding announcement.
“The safety of kids in foster care is priceless, but the reality is that creating and maintaining a safe environment for these youth comes at a cost,” said Maryhurst President and CEO Paula Garner. “This financial relief is a lifeline and will allow us to continue to offer the therapeutic support to children that is so critically needed at this time.”
The governor pointed to the success of efforts to keep children in their homes and out of foster care.
The Family Preservation and Reunification Services program alone has had a 94% success rate in keeping children in their homes, he said. Such prevention efforts are saving the state and taxpayers money, the governor’s office said.
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