Simply put, the numbers are staggering. Here in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, there are currently over 8000 children in foster care. The actual number- as of early January 2024- is 8047. That number seems to be growing exponentially.

More Children are in Foster Care - Fewer Returning to Their Families

A recent Louisville Public Media analysis noted a double-digit increase from 2014 to 2016. In fact, they noted the following dynamic. More children are ending up in foster care, but fewer are being reunited with families. According to the stats they cited, the number of children in foster care increased by 12%, compared to baseline data from 2014 to 2016. And sadly, the number of children released from foster care by reunification decreased by 5%.

Righting the Ship

Agencies like The Center in Owensboro are doing their best to right that ship and they're doing so by focusing on the families- in particular the 980 of the 8047 kids that are fostered with relatives. 12% of children in Kentucky's foster care program fall into that category. They're placed in 'Relative or Fictive Kin Placement.'

Melanie Chaffin, who works at The Center, recently shared this on social media. "During a typical week, The Center supports over 30 families to facilitate bonding between 45 children and their parents in a safe and neutral environment." The Center is working to ensure that those parents receive "support with resources, parenting classes, anger management, parent coaching" and more. The ultimate goal of programs like The Center's is to protect the child, educate the families and attempt to break the foster care cycle. The agency strives to get the foster child back home with their parent or parents.

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Erica Wade, the Executive Director of The Center, adds, "The 30+ families we serve through supervised family visitation each week are a mix of children that have been placed in foster care, some that are currently living with their other biological parent, and another portion that are in kinship / other family placement." The common denominator with these instances? There is a biological parent whose visits have to be held under appropriate supervision.

Here's where The Center, like other agencies across the Commonwealth, is working hard to break the aforementioned cycle. Erica says, "In most of our cases, they (the parents) are working their way towards reunification and working a case plan." The question is this. Are programs like The Center's working? Are they seeing success stories?

According to Erica, the answer is "Yes!" She says, "We are blessed to witness so many phenomenal stories of resilience after trauma every single day."

How Many Kids are Currently in Foster Care in KY?

Of course, there is an established need here in Kentucky for children to be placed with willing foster parents. Here's the current age breakdown of children in the foster care system:

Less than 1-year-old: 1483

Ages 1 to 3-years-old: 1133

Ages 3 to 6-years-old: 1344

Ages 6 to 12-years-old: 2073

Ages 12 to 18-years-old: 2013

How to Become a Foster Family in KY

If you live in Kentucky and are interested in learning more about how to become a foster parent, you can do so through KY FACES- the Kentucky Foster Adoptive Caregiver Exchange System.

To see the qualifications, one must meet to be considered, CLICK HERE! According to KY Faces, proper training and evaluation usually takes between six to nine months. The amount of time it takes for a child to be placed with a newly approved foster family depends on several factors- including what type of child they wish to parent.

One thing is certain. With over 8000 children currently in foster care here in Kentucky, the need for foster homes is real and urgent.

The 25 Most Common Last Names in Kentucky RANKED breaks down the most common last names nationwide and state by state. Here are the top 25 most common surnames in Kentucky.

10 Reasons Why This Kentucky Family Spends Every Vacation They Can at Disney World

When I tell people that we vacation at Disney World and have since my twin boys were 10 months old, the first question people usually ask me is, “Are you okay?” But the second question I get asked is, “What do you love so much about it?” Well, “I think so,” for the first question, and, “Everything,” for the second.

But saying I love everything about Disney World is kind of like me saying I love all my kids equally. It’s true, of course, but not a satisfying answer (Love you guys, equally)! It’s the WHY that matters. Why go to the most crowded theme park in the world when I could go almost anywhere else? Why not go to the beach or a cabin far away from society? Why do I want to go non-stop from sun up to sun down instead of sleeping in and resting on my vacation? Trust me, I get it, and yes, I've asked myself these questions. But the truth is, while it may seem wild to actively plan and prepare routine Disney World trips, it's a rush and I enjoy every minute of it, so let me give you ten reasons why this Kentucky family goes to Disney World for vacation.

Gallery Credit: Josh Corum


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