A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Increase in Ky’s Adoption Benefit Program aims to ease burden, reduce number of kids in foster care

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

Increases to the state Adoption Benefit Program, aimed at lowering the number of children in Kentucky’s foster care system and aiding state employees with the financial costs of adoption, were announced Friday by Gov. Matt Bevin.

For the first time, employees will have the option of a stipend and/or reimbursement, based on the needs of the family. State employees who adopt may now receive up to $5,000 for a standard adoption and up to $7,000 if the child is certified by Cabinet for Health and Family Services as having special needs. These changes represent a $2,000 increase in the amounts available to state workers who adopt.

Gov. Matt Bevin used executive to get increases for the Adoption Benefit Program in Kentucky.. (Photo by Tom Latek, Kentucky Today)

Reimbursable expenses include licensed adoption agency fees, legal fees, medical costs that are not paid by insurance, Medicaid, or other available resources, court costs, or any other reasonable fees or costs associated with the legal adoption of a child.

“Although the state adoption reimbursement program has been in place since 1998, it’s never been increased to reflect the current expenses and needs of adoptive families,” Bevin said. “The updates to the Adoption Benefit Program will support our hardworking public employees in their adoption journey, while also helping more children find their forever homes with Kentucky families.”

Kentucky currently has nearly 10,000 children in the foster care system, and hundreds of those children are ready to be adopted.

“We want Kentucky to be one of the most adoption-friendly states in the country,” Personnel Cabinet Secretary Thomas B. Stephens said. “This much needed update allows the Commonwealth to further promote adoption among our state employees and better support them through a combination of reimbursements and a stipend.”

CHFS Secretary Adam Meier says he considers this an important upgrade to the adoption benefit. “It represents an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ approach to helping children in our system find forever homes. “We are confident that these changes to the program will promote awareness about adoption in our state and encourage state employees to consider adoption.”

Bevin accomplished the increases by issuing an executive order.

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