Sometimes good can come even amid the divisiveness and outright disfunction so common in the halls of government.
That was the case when lawmakers of every political persuasion came together over the past three months to draft and pass needed reforms to Kentucky’s adoption and foster care system.
House lawmakers gave final passage to the reforms on Monday, making children the big winners in this year’s legislative session.
State Rep. David Meade deserves kudos for his dogged determination that resulted in substantive changes that will speed up adoptions for abused and neglected children while also implementing safeguards to keep children with their parents when it’s safe to do so.
Terry Brooks, head of Kentucky Youth Advocates, said the measure is an example of the good that can come when leaders lead.
Every Kentucky kid, Brooks said, deserves a family and this legislation can make that happen.
Under the state’s broken system, it has typically taken 3 to 4 years from the time children enter foster care for them to be eligible for adoption. During that time, they are left to wrestle with confusion, uncertainty and emotional trauma.
Kentucky Baptist Convention Executive Director Paul Chitwood said lawmakers from both sides of the aisle united to defend our state’s most vulnerable children “by bringing reforms to an overwhelmed, over-regulated and underfunded child welfare system.”
When it comes to the art of governing, expectations tend to be rather low, so it’s not that difficult to exceed expectations. But in this case, lawmakers knocked it out of the park.
All that remains is for Gov. Matt Bevin, himself a children’s advocate and adoptive father, to sign this measure into law. He should do so hurriedly.