Kentucky children in foster care get new coats and duffle bags

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin's budget proposal, also known as House Bill 200, is pushing forward. On Friday, the House had its first reading of the bill, which includes new funding for some causes, but big cuts for others.

If approved, the Cabinet of Health and Family Services is one agency that would see big bucks rolling in. Gov. Bevin has set aside $10.8 million for adoption and foster care programs. He says the state is currently handling a growing amount of cases, and money isn't the only thing they need.

A special delivery this week at the offices of Health and Family Services in Paris, Carlisle, and Cynthiana could help fill those demands.

"A lot of our kids come into foster care without, sometimes without anything, it's an emergency situation," said Missy Happy, an employee at the Bourbon County office.

When you account for the approximate 8,500 children currently in Kentucky's foster care system, it's easy to see how those emergencies can be taxing on available resources.

"We have a lot of foster children, and we have more each and every day," said another leader with the department.

State employees explain that coats are one of the most in demand and hard to come by necessities, that children often need during intake. Not just during the winter, but on those unseasonably cold days the rest of the year.

"We get children all times of the year, day and evening," said Shawn Warner, with the Harrison County office.

Workers with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services collected the coats themselves, with the help of public donations.

Also in tow were new duffle bags.

Earlier this month, Governor Bevin spoke on the importance of
duffle bag donations, when it comes to giving foster children a sense of dignity.

"What has sadly happened, historically, is that kids were given a big garbage bag, literally told put all your stuff in the garbage bag, and they'd go out of their home with all their worldly belongings in a black plastic garbage bag," said Bevin.

This week, the only garbage bags that foster workers saw were the ones bringing in donations.

The cabinet continually takes donations from the public. You can call 1-800-232-KIDS to find out what their current needs are, and where you can drop off those items.

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