Gov. Matt Bevin announced Friday that he’ll hire a “czar” sometime next week to work in his administration and specifically address problems in Kentucky’s foster care and adoption system.
The person will work with “each of these areas to harness the best of what they have, but be removed from their bureaucracies and challenge people to do things, to be nimble and do things that have never been done before,” Bevin said.
Bevin’s comments came at the “Summit to Save Our Children,” an event designed to encourage nonprofits and faith-based organizations to recruit foster parents in Kentucky. Several speakers talked about the issues facing foster children and parents in Kentucky and encouraged those in attendance to recruit potential parents to become foster parents.
There are currently about 8,000 children in the foster care system in Kentucky, and about 1,228 are available for adoption. The average child in foster care in Kentucky spends a little less than two months in foster care, according to the Out-of-Home Care Services.
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Adria Johnson, the commissioner of the Department for Community Based Services, said it’s especially difficult to find adoptive parents for older teens, sibling groups and children of color.
“The older youth need us just as much as the itty-bitties do,” Johnson said.
The governor has repeatedly pledged to improve Kentucky’s foster care system and the issue has become a main priority for first lady Glenna Bevin. She had an unsuccessful experience attempting to adopt a child in Kentucky but has adopted four children from overseas.
Bevin pledged to make it easier to adopt in Kentucky and challenged several components of the foster care system in the state to figure out a way to address the problems that children in the foster care system face.
“There should not be any child in Kentucky able to be adopted, ready to be adopted, wanting to be adopted who does not have a home,” Bevin said.