“In August 2014, I accepted temporary custody of my 16-month-old grandson.  A month later, I accepted temporary custody of my newborn granddaughter.  My life has been a whirlwind ever since.  The children were removed from their mother’s care due to neglect and drug use.

Kin's grandson Kayden

Kin’s grandson Kayden

My son is unable to care for them due to emotional and other issues.  While I am a young grandmother (43), I often feel ill-equipped to manage the needs of an infant and active toddler.  I am employed full-time and married – our family is firmly middle class, but we do not have the financial resources to pay for quality child care, which is by far the largest expense.  Fortunately, the state (DCBS) has provided benefits that have paid for 100% of their child care up to this point, but it has been a struggle to obtain those benefits.  We have been told at different times that the benefits will be reduced or eliminated.  It has been impossible to get straight answers from case workers or engage in proactive planning.   Recently, we were preparing to send the children to foster care because the benefits had been eliminated.

I don’t know whether it was my phone calls to our state senator’s office or my persistence in dealing with the case workers, but I managed to get those benefits reinstated and we are now able to keep the children.

Kim's granddaughter Kayleigh

Kim’s granddaughter Kayleigh

 

My success felt like a double-edged sword.  While I was relieved to be able to keep these precious babies, I am still struggling to find a healthy life balance for us all.  Through online research, I have learned about the kinship care benefit, which is currently de-funded.  Reinstatement of the kinship benefit just makes financial sense for the state of KY, but it also makes emotional sense for families.  I plan to lend my voice to those of other advocates, to help influence the decision-making process of our lawmakers.”

 

-Kim Guffy
Logan County, KY

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