FRANKFORT – Ten Kentucky families from across the state were honored recently for their service as foster parents to some of the state’s most vulnerable children. The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, the state agency that oversees the public foster care system, presented the awards at a Frankfort reception.
Nine families from each of the cabinet’s services regions received an Excellence in Service Award for outstanding service to Kentucky’s families and children, and one family received a Longevity Award for 25 or more years of service.
All were honored for their dedication and commitment to caring for children in custody of the CHFS Department for Community Based Services due to abandonment or abuse and neglect issues.
CHFS Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes was at the event and praised the families.
“Each of you possesses great skills and commitment to help so many Kentucky children live a normal life,” she said in a statement. “As parents working together with your caseworkers, you make sure all of a child’s critical needs are covered. But more than that, you give them love and a renewed chance for stability.”
DCBS Acting Commissioner Teresa James said the families being honored represent the best of a wholly committed and compassionate group.
“Through this honor, we recognize the dedication of these parents, our critical partners,” she said. “Foster parents give hundreds of children the love and constant care they need during a crucial transition period. They are such a source of comfort to both children and birth families.”
CHFS established the Kentucky Foster Care Excellence in Service Awards in 1999. Selection criteria include initiative, advocacy, self-sufficiency, interest, flexibility and creativity in their foster caregiving.
James said the awards ceremony allows DCBS an opportunity to publicly express proper gratitude.
“We appreciate all of the parents who provide foster care,” she said. “They provide an unconditional love, and we don’t get the chance to say ‘thank you’ nearly enough.”
James said DCBS support staff, along with veteran foster parents as mentors, are always available to help parents with questions.
“Foster parents may encounter problems ranging from paperwork to behavioral issues, and we’ll be by their side to guide them through any obstacle,” James said.
There are more than 2,100 DCBS-approved Kentucky households that serve as foster families. About 6,700 children are in out-of-home care in Kentucky.
For more information about becoming a foster parent, log on to http://chfs.ky.gov/dcbs/dpp/faqfostercare.htm.
The honorees and their home counties include.
2012 Kentucky Cabinet for Heath and Family Services
Excellence in Service Award Winners
Cumberland Region, Laurel County: David and Teresa Moore
Eastern Mountain Region, Pike County: John and Sandy Reed
Jefferson Region, Jefferson County: Pamela J. Ballenger
Northeastern Region, Bath County: Charlie and Lori Hardin
Northern Bluegrass Region, Harrison County: Scott and Mattie Bolton
Salt River Trail Region, Hardin County: Darrin and Amanda Morris
Southern Bluegrass Region, Fayette County: Jason and Becky Keith
The Lakes Region, Christian County: Walter and Vanessa Moss
Two Rivers Region, Warren County: Jana and Michael Young
Longevity Award Winner (25 years or more as DCBS foster parents)
Stephen and Linda Hawkins, Jefferson County