State officials to use Stimulus to restore some children's services

FRANKFORT, KY -- The leaders of several state agencies that help some of Kentucky's difficult-to-place foster children said Friday they were relieved by Gov. Steve Beshear's announcement that $4 million in federal stimulus money would be used to restore funds to residential treatment centers.

The Lexington Herald-Leader also reports in its Saturday edition the rate at which the state reimburses the centers was cut in February because of lower state revenues.

"I'm delighted. We were in very serious jeopardy," said Kaye Jones Templin, chief executive officer of Gateway Children's Services in Mount Sterling. "We had cut everything to the bone. We froze spending. We had to lay off some people. When your staff is affected, your children are affected."

Gateway provides one of the few 24-hour emergency children's shelters in the state, Templin said.

In Louisville, Gordon S. Brown, president and CEO of Home of the Innocents, called the news "a huge relief."

"These are the most desperate kids in our commonwealth. They are generally victims," Brown said.

At the beginning of February, the reimbursement rates paid to private child-care agencies were reduced by 7 percent, or about $4.5 million, over four months. That included $1.4 million in state General Fund dollars and $3.1 million in federal dollars.

But Friday, Beshear announced that as of June 1, the rates are being restored to the January 2009 level. For Gateway, that means an additional $10,000 each month, Templin told The Lexington Herald-Leader.

Copyright -The Lexington Herald-Leader

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