Opinion Pieces


Adoption Czar First Step to Fixing Ky's Foster Care System May 5, 2017 by Brandon Porter

A broken government system should not keep the pieces of a child’s life from being put back together. Governor Matt Bevin’s choice of Dan Dumas as adoption czar is a major step in the right direction to repair the broken foster care and adoption process in Kentucky.

As an adoptive father of two, I’m grateful to see a governor who will put children before bureaucracy. More than 15 years ago, my wife and I tried to adopt through the foster care system in Alabama. On the day we believed we would become parents, the door was painfully slammed in our faces and our hopes were dashed.
 
Months later, we moved back home to Kentucky still longing to be parents. We found a foster care system in similar shambles. To avoid a second heartbreak, we chose to adopt internationally.

Could it be the day has finally arrived that something is going to be done to care for orphans and those being tossed around in a broken foster care system? Let’s hope so.

Over the years, I’ve been asked many times why we adopted internationally instead of adopting in-state. Obviously, I’ve shared the story you just read. We’ve also found that we’re not alone. There are dozens of people who have shared similar experiences with us.

I’m not a social worker and I’ve never worked for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, so I don’t know the ins and outs of all of the problems. I just know there are problems.

I also know there are thousands of kids, who need permanent care, caught in a system that cannot provide it. The lives of these children should matter to all of us. They’re the future of the commonwealth, and they need our care today.

The appointment of Dumas should help people see a fuller picture of what it means to be pro-life. For too long being pro-life has only been viewed as being anti-abortion. While that’s one facet of being pro-life, there’s a lot more to this conviction.

I value human life because I believe that every person has been created in the image of God and is, therefore, worthy of dignity and respect. That means life must be cared for from conception to the coffin.

Gov. Bevin has demonstrated his pro-life conviction by making sure Kentucky’s abortion clinics are closely observing state law. In 2017, the governor and the general assembly demonstrated their commitment to life by passing legislation that protects human life. The appointment of Dumas will now show that life is to be valued far beyond birth.

Families are important to society and research shows they are vitally important to helping children succeed.

A 2006 Harvard graduate school survey revealed that children with parental involvement could read earlier in life and developed better work habits in elementary school. The study goes on to say that children with parental involvement have a greater level of social competence and are more successful once they graduate high school.

While many of Kentucky’s social workers and foster parents should be commended for their work, they cannot fully stand in the gap for parents. It is time for reform in this important area. Dumas has his work cut out for him.

Let’s look beyond party politics and cheer for the children in need and the men and women that want to be their parents.



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