In Jan. 8 IssueBy Greg WellsTimes Journal Managing Editor
Those involved will be the first to say it wasn't a big-money program but the amounts that went to local families were very important to those in dire situations.
It was called the Kentucky Family Caregiver's Program, but most knew it as the "Grandparent Program."
Kim Foley, the program coordinator, said they were tasked with finding the grandparents who were raising their grandchildren, and assist them with things like clothes, school supplies and other needs.
Donna Diaz, said the money was usually around $100, but it had an impact on the families who were falling through the cracks in the system.
Diaz is director of the Lake Cumberland Community Development District, which oversaw the project.
It is gone now, a victim of the state's tight budget.
The state saved about $30,000 by shutting the program down early this year, and Diaz said she's been told not to expect this program to start up again next fiscal year, in July.
Those who were served by it, which by definition were the people missed by other programs, will now be missing this one.
Because of privacy issues Diaz said she couldn't provide names of any of those who had been helped but she did relate the story of one of them.
She said the agency had been made aware of a grandparent who was raising a child, but didn't have a bed for the youth so that child had been sleeping on the sofa.
"We got them a small inexpensive bed," Diaz said.
She said the student wrote them a letter, complete with drawings of the bed. "That child was so happy to have a bed to sleep in."
Foley said many of the children being raised by other family members are there by court order after a parent is arrested on drug charges, or are simply left in a relative's care by a parent who isn't up to the responsibility.
There are 16 participants in the program in Russell County and they are raising 19 children.
Last year there was almost $130,000 spent out of that program, this year the budget was only $114,173 and that has now been cut by about $30,000.
Foley noted that as it is a tough time for state budgets it is also a tough time for those who are on fixed incomes and are trying to raise their children's children.