ISPEAK OUT: Grandparents and Relatives Who Step Up to Raise Children in Kentucky Need Support
In Kentucky, family values are more than just talk. That’s why more than 63,000 Kentucky kids whose parents cannot raise them live with relatives or family friends. Kentucky should support caregivers who want to make a difference. But new budget cuts threaten this investment in Kentucky’s future.
What is the Kinship Care Program? Kentucky’s Kinship Care Program offers payments of up to $300/month to meet the needs of children who have been removed from the home due to safety concerns and are living with their kin. Over 11,000 children currently receive support from the program. If these children were in licensed foster care, they would receive over $600/month for basic foster care and more if in specialized foster care or residential settings.
What’s changed? – As of April 1, no new families are allowed to participate. Current families will be allowed to continue receiving support.
What does this mean? – When children experience abuse or neglect, some will not be able to recover from their trauma with relatives or family friends, which is proven to be better for kids, because those caregivers cannot cover the costs alone. That means more kids in foster care and group home settings, and because those alternatives are more expensive, less value for every taxpayer dollar.
SPEAK OUT: A public hearing about the cuts to the Kinship Care Program be held on May 21, 9 a.m., in the Health Service Auditorium on the 1st floor of the Cabinet Building, 275 E. Main, Frankfort. Here are ways you can be involved:
Attend the hearing and testify on May 21. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (502) 564‐7463 ext 3810 to inform him that you are planning to appear at the public hearing for the regulation 922 KAR 1:320E.
Submit written comments by May 31. Send them to Justin Dearinger, Kentucky Department for Community Based Services; 275 East Main Street, Frankfort, KY 40621; email@example.com Use the following talking points in your comments:
This is personal: Share your story as a grandparent, aunt, family friend, professional, etc. – with stepping up to raise children. Tell them the joys and the challenges of raising children who have been separated from their parents.
Real Kentucky values: Kinship care means families, everywhere in this state, stepping up to take care of their own.
Better for kids: Research shows that kids do better with relatives than with strangers, even well intentioned strangers.
Kathy Allen of Fayette County is stepping up to raise her 11 and 12 year old grandchildren.
Better for taxpayers: Kinship care is by far the least expensive form of out‐of‐home care.
A problem you can solve: You can find a better budget solution than cuts to Kinship Care and other investments in Kentucky children.
· Must be passionate about working with parents in a school-based setting
· Be available to work full-time, including some evenings
· Be able to commit to one year of VISTA service
· Some college preferred
· Have the ability to take initiative and build relationships
Benefits of service:
· Modest living allowance
· Healthcare benefits while in service
· Childcare assistance while in service
· Student loan forbearance or deferment while in service
· Choice of a $5,500 education award or a $1,500 cash stipend for members who complete a year of service
· 10 sick days, 10 personal days and 12 holidays
Apply online at www.americorps.gov.
For more information, contact Laura Barber at 859-986-3901 x228.
The 2013 Early Childhood Profile is designed to provide each county in Kentucky with data that will assist them in developing local strategies to assure that every child in their community arrives at kindergarten ready to learn, ready to grow and ready to succeed. The Profiles contain results from the kindergarten screener pilot which was launched in 109 school districts in 2012. It also provides information about participation in publicly funded preschool, head start and child care.It includes information about the quality and availability of child care and the education of the early childhood workforce. Finally, demographic data is provided representing key indicators of possible barriers to success for young children and their families and participation in public health and social service programs that can help.
The Early Childhood Profile can help change the conversation in each community in Kentucky to achieve our goals:
It is our hope that this compilation of data in the 2013 Early Childhood Profile will create local dialogue and inform local action to improve early childhood outcomes.We believe that what gets measured gets done. Making sure that every child in the Commonwealth gets the best possible start in life must be everyone’s priority. We are pleased to provide this tool in partnership with the Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics, Kentucky Department of Education, and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
Please go to the following website and look up the data for Owsley County: http://kentuckyp20.ky.gov/Reports/EarlyChildhoodProfile/default.aspx
Article Courtesy of the Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics
We are deeply troubled and sorrowful to hear of the great tragedy in Connecticut at an elementary school on Friday. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Sandy Hook Elementary School community that was devastated by the loss of their children and educators. The news accounts are reporting a large number of fatalities, many of which are elementary-age-students, a principal and teachers.
Our children and staff are our most precious resource and to that end, we take this tragedy as a stark reminder of the importance of our safety procedures and our check-in process for all visitors to our schools. While there is no indication that this is anything but an isolated incident far away from Owsley County School District we do want to take this opportunity to remind all of our families that we conduct regular drills, including those for a building lockdown, and that we have secure doors at the main entrance to each school and active camera system in both buildings. All visitors to our schools must enter and sign in with the school office. Other exterior doors to the buildings remain locked at all times and only staff can access those doors. Buzzer systems that allow entrances to/from building are controlled from office level are used daily.
These are just a few of the procedures that we have in place to help ensure student safety and security. Certainly in this day and age we can never be absolutely protected against all circumstances, but we do educate staff throughout the year, practice and revise our safety plan and rely on our parents, first responders and the community to help us practice and respond using our safety procedures.
We know that children may raise questions and concerns about this tragedy. The American Psychological Association (APA) recommends several tips for parents to consider:
Talk with your child -
If children ask questions, talking to them about their worries and concerns is the first step to help them feel safe and begin to cope with the events occurring around them. What you talk about and how you say it does depend on their age, but all children need to be able to know you are there and listening to them.
Keep home a safe place -
Children, regardless of age, often find home to be a safe haven when the world around them becomes overwhelming. During times of crisis, it is important to remember that your children may come home seeking the safe feeling they have being there.
Watch for signs of stress, fear or anxiety -
After a traumatic event, it is typical for children (and adults) to experience a wide range of emotions including fearfulness, shock, anger, grief and anxiety. Your children's behaviors may change because of their response to the event. They may experience trouble sleeping, difficulty with concentrating on schoolwork, or changes in appetite. This is normal for everyone and should begin to disappear in a few months.
Take "news breaks" - Your children may want to keep informed by gathering information about the event from the internet, television, or newspapers. It is important to limit the amount of time spent watching the news because constant exposure may actually heighten their anxiety and fears. Other resources can be found at www.kysafeschools.org
Giving your child back a sense of routine is a critical part of “getting back” to normal. Over the next few days we will be prepared to assist you child if they have questions. If you have any questions or concerns, you are always welcome to contact the school principal (Mr. Taylor at 593-5186 or Mr. Cornett at 593-5185). Please know we have school counselors available at each school who can assist parents in talking with their children or answering questions. Feel free to contact the Owsley County School District if you have further questions. We will continue to keep you informed on our website and through letters as other safety issues occur. Our students and your children are our most precious resource and their safety is our priority and we will continue to be ever diligent in that effort. Please do not be alarmed to see additional security around the buildings.
Again, please keep all those involved in your thoughts in prayers today and in future days.
Tim Bobrowski, Superintendent