The public is being asked to weigh in on Kentucky’s foster care and adoption system that has ballooned to include more than 9,000 children.
The state’s Citizen Foster Care Review Boards are preparing to hold community forums around the state and the first one takes place Friday in Elizabethtown.
Recommendations gathered at those meetings will be sent to the Kentucky legislature, governor, and Supreme Court.
Janice Skaggs is a member of the Citizen Foster Care Review Board in the Hardin County region. She says the meeting is a chance for the public to give an outsider’s perspective on some of the challenges facing the foster care system, including the time it takes to get youth into permanent homes.
"These children are traumatized just by having to come out of the family. A lot of times what has gone on within the family, but having to come out of that," Skaggs told WKU Public Radio. "We need to make their pathway from there on as easy as possible."
Kentucky has around 9,5000 children in foster care, according to the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services. That number has grown in recent years, due in part, to the state’s opioid crisis.
The General Assembly passed legislation this year aimed at reforming the foster care and adoption system. Among the reforms are seven community forums that will take place across the state from August through October.
Friday’s public meeting in Elizabethtown will take place from 1:30- 3:00 p.m. at the Hardin County Extension Office. Other forums are planned in Salyersville, Lexington, Madisonville, Florence, Somerset, and Louisville.