Governor Bevin and state leaders plead for adoption help
FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) – Friday was for blunt honesty and desperate pleas.
A recent federal report gave Kentucky's foster care system a failing grade in every area, and its worst rating was for finding children a permanent home.
Governor Matt Bevin and the First Lady joined the leaders from the Cabinet of Health and Family Services on Friday for a foster care summit.
The goal was to explain the problems Kentucky faces and ask more families to adopt.
"We should all be shocked appalled and feel shamed," Adria Johnson, the commissioner of the Department for Community Based Services said.
"The system is not working," Secretary Vickie Yates Brown Glisson of the Cabinet for Health and Family services said. "Everybody says it doesn't work."
A WAVE 3 News Investigation and a recent federal report exposed a huge shortage of workers and an increased demand on the system due to drug use.
"We need to fix this now or we're going to lose generations to come," Sec. Glisson said.
Governor Bevin and the First Lady, Glenna Bevin, have adopted four children from Ethiopia.
"This is our problem," Gov. Bevin said. "This is the time for boldness. We are going to fix this problem in Kentucky."
Bevin became emotional explaining how the family had tried to adopt a child from Kentucky but were rejected.
"There should not be any child in Kentucky able to adopted, ready to be adopted, wanting to be adopted that does not have a home," Bevin said through tears.
In 2016, Kentucky had its highest number of adoptions in the past decade, but 8,000 children remain in foster care.
"Children are entering at a higher rate than they are exiting care and that is a problem," Johnson said.
At the foster care summit, state leaders explained plans to simplify the state's adoption process including a new computer system to identify the needs of different communities.
"We want families to help us but yet we make the requirements burdensome and unrealistic," Johnson said.
More than anything, Friday was a call to action.
"We're at kind of a crucial crossroads and we really really need your help," Sec. Glisson said.
"We can do better," Gov. Bevin said. "Let Kentucky lead the charge."
In his State of the Commonwealth of speech, Gov. Bevin said he was going to appoint a foster care or adoption czar to the state. Friday, he announced he should be able to name that person sometime next week.
Copyright 2017 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.