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Bevin Defends Adoption ‘Czar’ Appointment, Pay

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Matt Bevin said the man he has appointed to oversee the state’s adoption and foster care system is being unfairly criticized.

Bevin tapped Dan Dumas, a senior vice president with Louisville Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, to be Kentucky’s adoption “czar” earlier this month.

Democrats have criticized the appointment for its high pay and Dumas’ lack of experience working in the adoption system.

During a Facebook live event on Friday, Bevin defended the move.

“He’s a guy who has spoken on this subject, has written about this subject,” Bevin said. “He’s a guy who is living it. And the fact that the state of Kentucky is fortunate enough to get him to do this job — we should be grateful.”

A Navy veteran, Dumas started working at the seminary in 2008. He’s written books about Christianity and he and his wife have two adopted sons.

Dumas has received a $240,000 contract for the job, with the option for Bevin to award annual bonuses of up to 20 percent.

Bevin said reforming the state’s adoption program is part of why he ran for office. He and First Lady Glenna Bevin have five biological children and years ago wanted to adopt more, but the state kept them from adopting.

“They didn’t feel that child would get enough attention as the sixth child in the family. That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,” Bevin said.

The Bevins ended up going outside the state to adopt four children from Ethiopoia.

During the Facebook live event, the governor called for easing adoption restrictions on families who already have several children. He also said he wants to streamline the process so that parents can take adoption classes online.

Bevin also took questions about the opioid epidemic in the state. He highlighted a new state law that will require doctors to prescribe no more than a three-day supply of prescription painkillers.

“Doctors still have a tremendous amount of latitude,” Bevin said. “But this is requiring them to think a little more than perhaps they have in the past about how much is enough.”

The law allows for some exceptions for doctors to write opioid prescriptions that last longer than three days, including for people suffering from chronic pain or cancer, and in end-of-life situations.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives for Kentucky Public Radio, a group of public radio stations including WKMS, WFPL in Louisville, WEKU in Richmond and WKYU in Bowling Green. A native of Lexington, Ryland most recently served as the Capitol Reporter for Kentucky Public Radio. He has covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin.
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