Governor Matt Bevin, First Lady Glenna Bevin, and Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) officials recently honored several families from across the Commonwealth for their service as adoptive and foster parents to some of the state’s most vulnerable children.
“We are determined to make Kentucky the gold standard — to make this truly as fine a place to be a foster child as anywhere in America,” said Gov. Bevin. “Thank you for caring enough to step outside of your comfort zone and to take on this incredible responsibility. This makes a powerful difference in the Commonwealth.”
Families from each of the nine CHFS Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) service regions, as well as a Foster Family of the Year and an Adoptive Family of the Year, were recognized at a recent Governor’s Mansion reception. All were selected and honored for their dedication to caring for children in custody of DCBS or making the commitment of adoption.
“We sincerely appreciate each of you and who you are to Kentucky’s children,” said First Lady Bevin. “What you do is not easy. It’s probably the most difficult job a person could have, but it is also the most important. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
The Governor and First Lady have long been advocates of adoption and foster care, personally parenting nine children, of whom four are adopted.
First Lady Bevin, in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Faith and Community Based Initiatives, Orphan Care Alliance, and several local organizations, has launched “Uniting Kentucky,” an initiative that engages the faith community, local government, and nonprofit organizations to empower Kentucky families to support Kentucky children who are in out-of-home care.
The following parents were honored:
- Adoptive Family of the Year: Chris and Christina Vaughn – Bowling Green (Warren County)
- Foster Family of the Year: Joshua and Ashley Tolson – Lexington (Fayette County)
- Outstanding Service Recipient, Cumberland Region – Foster Parent: Stacey Burton – Somerset (Pulaski County)
- Outstanding Service Recipient, Eastern Mountain Region – Foster Parents: Ryan and Shantana Woodward – Pikeville (Pike County)
- Outstanding Service Recipient, Jefferson Region – Foster Parents: Jeromy and Amanda Lynton – Fisherville (Jefferson County)
- Outstanding Service Recipient, Northeastern Region – Adoptive Parents: David and Amanda Frazier – West Liberty (Morgan County)
- Outstanding Service Recipient, Northern Bluegrass Region – Adoptive Parent: Nancy Clary – Ludlow (Kenton County)
- Outstanding Service Recipient, Salt River Trail Region – Foster Parents: Robert and Ashley Hoffman – Upton (LaRue County)
- Outstanding Service Recipient, Southern Bluegrass Region – Foster Parent: Janice Hukle – Nicholasville (Jessamine County)
- Outstanding Service Recipient, The Lakes Region – Foster Parents: Steve and Melissa Harrell – Murray (Calloway County)
- Outstanding Service Recipient, Two Rivers Region – Foster Parents: John and Misti Carrigan – Bowling Green (Warren County)
CHFS Secretary Adam Meier said that safe reunification is always a priority for CHFS staff and partners, and foster parents meet critical needs for children during a time of profound transition.
“Saying ‘thank you’ to these parents is just a start to recognize them for the comfort they give both the children and their birth families during foster care and on the threshold of permanency.”
Chris Johnson, Governor’s Office of Faith and Community Based Initiatives special advisor, noted that foster and adoptive parents “stand tall on the front lines of caring for children that have been through trauma and great difficulties.”
“These parents give of themselves daily, and it is important that they be recognized for their outstanding work. The families being honored represent all of the quality parents serving our children throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”
More than 9,500 children are in out-of-home care in Kentucky. Learn more about becoming a foster or adoptive parent at adopt.ky.gov or call 1-800-232-KIDS (5437).
To download photos of winners, click here.