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Health and Family Services Cabinet
State’s foster parents honored for excellent service; Nine parents and couples receive awards

Press Release Date:  Friday, May 18, 2007  
Contact Information:  Denise Weider, (502) 564-2147; Anya Armes Weber, (502) 564-6180 or Vikki Franklin, (502) 564-7042  

Note to editors and producers: Most parents will consent to media interviews. Short profiles and electronic photos are available for each parent. Call Anya Armes Weber at (502) 564-6180 for information.


FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 18, 2007) – Nine parents and couples from across the state were honored today for their excellent service as foster parents to Kentucky’s most vulnerable children.

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), the state agency that oversees the public foster care system, awarded the parents Excellence in Service Awards.

They were honored for their dedication and commitment to caring for children in custody of CHFS’ Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) because of abandonment or abuse and neglect issues. The parents represent each of DCBS’ nine service regions.

“Good foster parents like these are a gift,” said Tom Emberton Jr., CHFS undersecretary for Children and Family Services. “They have the experience, the patience and the instincts to care for children in a fragile state, but most importantly, they have loving hearts.”

Governor Ernie Fletcher has proclaimed May Foster Care Month in Kentucky.

CHFS established the Kentucky Foster Care Excellence in Service Awards in 1999. Selection criteria include initiative, advocacy, self-sufficiency, interest, flexibility and creativity in their foster caregiving.

“Most of these honored parents have been through highs and lows of fostering and now serve as mentors to parents new to the foster program,” Emberton said. “They also help guide DCBS policy and procedures regarding foster care. We greatly value our partnership with these parents.”

DCBS has certified about 2,300 Kentucky households to care for foster families.

Foster care is meant to be temporary for children whose families are overcoming the issues that keep their children at risk of abuse and neglect. About 7,000 children are in foster placements statewide.

DCBS Commissioner Mark A. Washington said the number of foster children has increased in recent years because of the ever growing problem of substance abuse and its high risk effect on the safety of children and youth.

“We are always in need of loving foster parents,” Washington said. “The first step is a phone call, and then families can attend a local information session where most of their questions will be answered.”

Foster parents can be a great influence on their children’s lives, he said.

“Even though it is a transitional period, foster care can make a huge difference for kids,” Washington said. “Children learn from their foster parents what a structured, happy home life is like. And many birth parents who spend visitation time with their children have found role models in foster parents.

“As part of our overall commitment to strengthening the partnerships with community service providers, we view foster parents as one of the strongest support groups as we strive to provide children with a loving, nurturing home,”  he said.

Learn more about foster parenting by calling (800) 232-KIDS or logging on to

A list of honored foster parents and their home counties and cities follows.

2007 Kentucky Cabinet for Heath and Family Services
Excellence in Service Award Winners

Cumberland Region, Knox County (Girdler): Don and Donna Swafford
Jefferson Region, Jefferson County (Louisville): Linda and Huston Alston
Eastern Mountain Region, Perry County (Busy): Wanda Farney
Northeastern Region, Fleming County (Wallingford): Randy and Sandy Weaver
Northern Bluegrass Region, Scott County (Sadieville): Sandra and Barry Sebastian  
Salt River Trail Region, Oldham County (LaGrange): Dave and Sally Sauerbeck  
Southern Bluegrass Region, Jessamine County (Nicholasville): Janice Hukle
The Lakes Region, Fulton County (Fulton): Catherine and Mitchell (Mickey) Reilly
Two Rivers Region, Butler County (Quality): Charles and Deborah Brown   

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Last Updated 5/18/2007