Health and Family Services Cabinet
State Honors Foster Parents for Exemplary Service; Thirteen families recognized for transitional care of children

Press Release Date:  Thursday, May 16, 2013  
Contact Information:  Media Contact: Anya Armes Weber, (502) 564-6786, ext. 3104; or Jill Midkiff, (502) 564-7042, ext. 3465  


FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 16, 2013) – Thirteen Kentucky families from across the state were honored today for their service as foster parents to some of the state’s most vulnerable children.

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), the state agency that oversees the public foster care system, presented the awards at a Frankfort reception.

Nine families from each of the Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) regions received an Excellence in Service Award for outstanding support of Kentucky’s families and children, and four families received a Longevity Award for 25 or more years of service.

All were honored for their dedication and commitment to caring for children in custody of DCBS due to abuse and neglect issues.

CHFS Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes was at the event and praised the families.

“Being a foster parent requires lots of hard work and dedication and limitless love,” she said. “The families we honor will stop at nothing to ensure that the children placed in their homes receive the utmost care and full attention. It’s something that may be missing from their lives and something that truly gives them a renewed chance for stability.”

DCBS Commissioner Teresa James said the families being honored represent the best of a group committed to making a tough transition easier for children.

“Foster parents meet such critical needs for these children during a time when they are unsure about their worlds,” she said. “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.”

CHFS established the Kentucky Foster Care Excellence in Service Awards in 1999. Selection criteria include initiative, advocacy, self-sufficiency, interest, flexibility and creativity in their foster caregiving.


James said the awards ceremony allows DCBS an opportunity to publicly express proper gratitude.

“We appreciate all of the parents who provide foster care,” she said. “They are crucial partners for providing permanency in the lives of these children and progressing overall child well-being.”

James said DCBS support staff, along with veteran foster parents as mentors, are always available to help parents with questions.

 “Foster parents may encounter problems ranging from paperwork to behavioral issues, and we’ll be by their side to guide them through any obstacle,” she said.

There are more than 2,000 DCBS-approved Kentucky households that serve as foster families. About 7,200 children are in out-of-home care in Kentucky.

For more information about becoming a foster parent, log on to http://chfs.ky.gov/dcbs/dpp/faqfostercare.htm.

A list of honorees and their home counties follows.

2013 Kentucky Cabinet for Heath and Family Services
Excellence in Service Award Winners

  - Cumberland Region, Pulaski County: Brandon and Rachel Godsey
  - Eastern Mountain Region, Magoffin County: Teresa and Jonathan Bailey
 -  Jefferson Region, Jefferson County: James and Elizabeth Glass
 -  Northeastern Region, Bath County: Chris and Deanna Helton
  - Northern Bluegrass Region, Boone County: Mike and Jenny Knecht
 -  Salt River Trail Region, Shelby County: Tommy and Sue Newton
 -  Southern Bluegrass Region, Estill County: Wayne and Lovanda Knopp
 -  The Lakes Region, McCracken County: Lisa Hill
  - Two Rivers Region, Daviess County: Christie and Kevin Humphrey

Longevity Award Winners (25 years or more as DCBS foster parents)

  - Phyllis Bessette, Warren County (26 years)
 -  Stephanie Coble, Daviess County (40 years)
 -  Linda and Charles Upton, LaRue County (27 years)
 -  John and Marilyn Wesley,  Metcalfe County (26 years)

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The Cabinet for Health and Family Services is home to most of the state's human services and health care programs, including Medicaid, the Department for Community Based Services and the Department for Public Health. CHFS is one of the largest agencies in state government, with nearly 8,000 full and part-time employees throughout the Commonwealth focused on improving the lives and health of Kentuckians.