Adoption reform critical for Ky. families

Published 11:09 am Friday, May 26, 2017

The efforts to reform the adoption process here in Kentucky are long overdue and much-needed, with the encouraging part being that the bi-partisan initiative is taking great measures to put children and families first.

Created on the last day of the 2017 General Assembly, the House Working Group on Adoption had its first meeting earlier this week. The group heard from family court judges about the challenges in the system which include a lack of manpower both for the social worker and judge standpoint, too much redundancy in the administrative steps and the lack of voice for foster parents during the process.

Recent stats show that there are more than 8,000 children in out-of-home care across the state. There are more than 1,700 children with a goal of adoption; of those more than 800 are legally free for adoption and nearly half do not have identified families at this time.

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Even one is too many.

But this initiative is a step in the right direction.

The committee will meet monthly and hopes to have recommendations to House Speaker Jeff Hoover by Dec. 1. Future sessions will include testimony from foster care agencies, adoption agencies and, most importantly, the families who have gone through the system.

This runs parallel with Gov. Matt Bevin’s recent appointment of Daniel Dumas of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary to oversee the overhaul of the foster care and adoption process.

For the first time in many years the state is taking a real look at the many flaws in the system — ones that impact the lives of thousands of families — and working to find real solutions.

This is the type of reform that impacts children right here in Clark County and all corners of the Commonwealth. We hope to see tangible solutions that positively change the lives of children and strengthen families across the Bluegrass.