A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Sen. John Schickel: ‘I miss Mom,’ which makes me realize how children may need adoption, foster care

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Mom died ten years ago on April 12. She was coming home from choir practice the Saturday before Easter, walked out to fill a bird feeder on the back porch, filled the bird feeder, sat down in a chair, and died. Mom raised eleven children. I never heard her complain and she taught me so many lessons, along with my dad.
 
Mom loved church music and folk music. One of her favorites was Joan Baez. I bought one of her albums on iTunes today, and I enjoyed listening to it and thinking of Mom. My sister sent to me a picture of an entry in Mom’s garden diary, logged April 7, which said she had planted partially that day. She died April 12. Maybe that’s where I get my love of gardening.
 
It’s not until you grow up that you look around and realize that not everyone was as fortunate as you were. There is no greater factor in determining whether a child will grow up into a productive well-adjusted adult than the child’s home life. That is why I am so thankful that our Governor, Matt Bevin, and the Kentucky legislature made our adoption and foster care system a top priority this legislative session.
 

The Governor and two state senators that I know, Chris McDaniel and Whitney Westerfield, have set an example for all of us with their personal commitment to adoptive and foster care children. I am sure there are many others of whom I am not aware. We have over 8,000 children in the system, with an average age of 10 years old. Older children are harder to place than younger children, and there is a need to keep brothers and sisters together. They represent all races and ethnic groups.
 
The need is great. The Governor often says that with more than 6,000 churches in Kentucky, if each church would be responsible for placing one child, there would be no waiting list. This legislative session, we made the system more “user-friendly.” Many commonsense ideas by people who actually use the system were developed to hopefully make the system work better. We will evaluate these changes, and with the leadership that has been provided, look at their effectiveness and do more work on this issue next session. There is no single project more important.
 
As always, if you have any questions or comments about these issues or any other public policy issue, please call me at 502-564-8100, Ext. 617, or visit my LRC webpage to submit a message. You can review the Legislature’s work online at www.lrc.ky.gov.

Senator John Schickel (R-Union) represents the 11th District in Boone County. He serves as chairman of the Senate Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations Committee; as well as a member of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee; Judiciary Committee; Natural Resources and Energy Committee; and the Budget Review Subcommittee on Justice and Judiciary. 

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