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Kentucky To Begin Paying Relatives Who Serve As Foster Parents

Kate Ter Haar
Creative Commons

The state will begin compensating Kentuckians who serve as foster parents to children they’re related to after a federal court ruling last fall.

The change also applies to close family friends who look after children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect.

Starting later this month, the state says it will begin paying an average of about $750 per month to relatives and friends who act as foster parents — the same amount paid to licensed foster parents.

Last year, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Kentucky must compensate people who provide foster care for children they are related to, just as the state pays licensed foster parents.

The decision became final after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up an appeal of the case made by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

The ruling only applies to children who have been placed into temporary custody with a relative or “fictive kin” caregiver.

According to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, the state has already begun making payments to the plaintiff in the case — a Kentucky woman who took in her two great-nephews but was denied foster payments from the state.

Later this month the cabinet says it will begin making payments to 15 other relative and fictive kin caregivers who had inquired about their eligibility.

The state estimates that it will pay $14.3 million to caregivers looking after 1,590 children in the 2019 fiscal year, increasing to $15.3 million for 1,700 children in 2020.

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Ryland is the state capitol reporter for the Kentucky Public Radio Network, a group of public radio stations including WKU Public Radio. A native of Lexington, Ryland has covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin.