Kentucky Care for Foster Children Diverse

May 20, 2013

Commissioner Teresa James
Credit State Department for Community Based Services

The numbers tell part of the story.  71-hundred children need foster homes but there are only four-thousand such residences in Kentucky.  And, State Department for Community Based Services Commissioner Teresa James says some of those foster parents hope to adopt a child...and then leave the system.  “We have some of our homes are actually considered foster to adopt.  These are individuals who want to be foster parents, but are saying to us when they come in ‘we might also be interested in adoption, if children have had their, if their parental rights have been terminated and children are free for adoption,” said James.

There is not one standard pay rate for Kentucky’s foster parents. James says the state pays more for the care of children with mental health or substance abuse problems.

“And if you want children that don’t have significant behavioral issues, or if you want younger children that don’t that have minimal care needs, then that’s a different rate than if you have a child who have significant behavioral health issues.  We do, basically with the needs of the children, each child of Kentucky has a leveled rate and that’s what we pay and it’s based on their clinical needs and their behavioral and mental health needs,” added James.

State Department for Community Based Services Teresa James adds there’s a limit on how the number of foster children who can reside in a single home.

“Most homes have more than one child.  We do have a limit.  We do make exceptions at periods of time to that but we do have a limit of five.  If we had a sibling group or something like that and not wanting to separate them, we may make an exception in some cases.  But, for the most part, we want five or less children in a home in Kentucky,” explains James.

Due to tight state budgets, James says there’s been no significant increase in foster parent pay in recent years.