Agencies look forward to using federal money to keep families together

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – An new law known as the Family First Prevention Services Act seeks to help keep children safe with their families.

According to the Children’s Defense Fund, the month of October marks the start of the state being able to use Title IV-E funds for prevention services to keep children with their families. The funds can be used for a variety of services. Uspiritus, an organization that serves neglected youth, has a program called Family Preservation. Case manager supervisor Felicia McKisic said she’s ready to see what this funding will do for the program and families.

“It’s exciting to know that we can work with families on the front end to provide prevention services to prevent the removal of their kid, but also to work with them longer to reduce any risk that caused the kid to be placed in foster care,” McKisic said.

Potter Children’s Home in Bowling Green is agency serving at risk youth. Executive director Dr. Ralph Brewer said this act will be a beacon of light for those children who now have the chance to stay with their families.

“It’s always good when you can keep families together. Sometimes, that’s not possible. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of families in our state and in the country, who are really under a great deal of stress, so whenever you can keep them together, that’s always a good thing,” Brewer said.

McKisic said it’s about changing people’s lives and making sure that all children have the opportunity to grow up as part of a family.

“We’re just kind of learning how that process is working, but we’re working to figure out what evidence-based programs will be good for specific families,” McKisic said.

It’ll take some time to figure out how to utilize the funds, McKisic said.