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Health and Family Services Cabinet
Foster Families Honored for Excellent Service; 10 couples recognized

Press Release Date:  Friday, May 28, 2010  
Contact Information:  Media Contact: Anya Armes Weber, (502) 564-6180, ext. 4014; or Vikki Franklin, (502) 564-7042  

FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 28, 2010) – Ten families from across the state were honored last week for their service as foster parents to some of the state’s most vulnerable children.

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), the state agency that oversees the public foster care system, presented the awards at a Lexington dinner reception.

Nine families received an Excellence in Service Award for outstanding service to Kentucky’s families and children, and one family received a “Longevity Award” for 25 or more years of service.

All were honored for their dedication and commitment to caring for children in custody of the CHFS Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) because of abandonment or abuse and neglect issues.

DCBS Commissioner Patricia R. Wilson said the 10 families being honored represent the best of a compassionate and dedicated group of families.

“The parents we recognize with this honor are critical partners in our agency,” Wilson said. “Foster parents are a symbol of hope and stability for Kentucky’s children and families. They are a comfort to their foster children, and they can also be mentors to the children’s birth parents as they work toward safe reunification. Their love has no boundaries.”

Governor Steve Beshear 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.

Wilson said the awards night allows her agency to express proper appreciation.

“We greatly value our partnerships with parents who foster,” she said. “They serve the Commonwealth so unconditionally, and we listen to them and do our part to help things go smoothly for them. Foster parents know they never have to face any obstacle alone.”

DCBS Out of Home Care Branch Manager Jennie Willson said that foster parents are the department’s best recruiting resource for foster families within their communities. Many veteran parents serve as mentors to new foster parents.

“Foster parents tell their friends and their family members what fostering is all about, and it’s very effective,” Willson said. “Simply their presence in their communities as loving homes is enough to make an impact. We are grateful to all of these families.”

DCBS has approved about 2,320 Kentucky households as foster families.

As of April, 7,059 children are in out-of-home care in Kentucky.

A list of honorees and their home counties follows.

2010 Kentucky Cabinet for Heath and Family Services Excellence in Service Award Winners

Cumberland Region, Clay County: William and Tina Henson  
Eastern Mountain, Letcher County: Joe and Gertrude Fitzpatrick
Jefferson Region, Jefferson County: Anna and Welton Lane
Northern Bluegrass, Boone County: Walker and Kelly Lambert
Northeastern Region, Greenup County: Mike and Sheila Sutton
Salt River Trail, Meade County: Valerie and Kirk McLane
Southern Bluegrass, Fayette County: Steve and Frankie Stivers
The Lakes, Marshall County: Carl and Star Hanson
Two Rivers, Union County: Chris and Sharon Willett

Longevity Award (25 years or more as DCBS foster parents)

Dewey and Patty Cooper, Robertson County

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Last Updated 5/28/2010