Health and Family Services Cabinet
National Report Gives Kentucky High Marks for Outcomes in Child Welfare and Public Assistance; Council of State Governments study indicates children in foster care are safe
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 22, 2010) – Kentucky’s human services programs were ranked among the best in a recently released series of national reports.
The Lexington-based Council of State Governments (CSG), in partnership with the Urban Institute, has released the first reports from its State Comparative Performance Measurement Project. These studies focus on performance measures for child welfare including foster care and adoptions, food stamps and public assistance, known as the Kentucky Transitional Assistance Program (K-TAP).
Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) Secretary Janie Miller said the report gives staff of the CHFS Department for Community Based Services (DCBS), the state’s human services agency, the credit they deserve.
“I see and hear of the work of our front-line and administrative staff every day, and I know the work they are doing to guide the families we serve to recover from crises and find safe permanency for kids,” she said. “This report reflects their dedication to achieving good outcomes for Kentucky families.”
The comparative performance measurement on child welfare compared 12 months of data from 15 states that had available statistics ending in March 2007.
Kentucky ranked second, behind South Dakota, for the fewest number of children per thousand in foster care who were abused by a foster parent or facility staff.
Kentucky also ranked second for the greatest percent of families reunited with their families in less than one year, at 56.5 percent.
For percent of children being in foster care for less than 12 months, Kentucky ranked sixth with 86.2 percent.
The public assistance review included data reported by all states to the federal government for fiscal years 2006 and 2007.
In the CSG study, Kentucky ranked eighth for percentage of people (67 percent) with income below 125 percent poverty level who received food benefits.
“Because this number means the majority of people who qualify for food stamps have access to them, we are proud that it is so high,” DCBS Commissioner Patricia R. Wilson said. “We are reaching our target population.”
At 44.6 percent, Kentucky ranked 14th nationally for work participation. This number refers to K-TAP recipients who worked or took part in work-related activities like vocational education or job training to meet federal requirements.
Wilson said that even though the statistics in the reports are from two years ago, Kentucky’s data has been consistent or improved since then.
“Performance outcomes are relevant to staff because of what they represent – the families, adults and children whose lives have improved because of our services,” she said.
CSG is a nonpartisan, national organization of leadership from all three branches of state government. The region-based group invites members to participate in the exchange of ideas on public policy. CSG officials describe their national performance measurement report as a way to collect, analyze and publish comparative data so states can set reachable targets for their services as well as identify successful state practices.
Read the CSG reports online at http://www.csg.org/programs/policyprograms/CPM.aspx.
– 30 –