Bill would allow kinship caregivers swifter access to health care and education for kids

03/06/2014 07:49 AM

Among the last batch of bills to be filed in the 2014 session is legislation that would allow Kentuckians who have taken over care of relatives’ children to get those kids medical care or into schools if legal custody or guardianship is delayed or not feasible.

Senate Bill 176, sponsored by Sen. Denise Harper Angel, D-Louisville, would allow caregivers to complete an affidavit stating that they are the primary caregiver of the child or children. By presenting that affidavit to school districts or doctors, they would be authorized to enroll the children in school and get them health care treatment.

“The number of minors in Kentucky raised by relatives in Kentucky has doubled in the last decade to more than 59,000 and to this point there’s no clear way for a kinship care provider to enroll a child in school or to seek medical treatment or to seek basic education services,” Harper Angel said.

Harper Angel said the bill is somewhat personal for her as she was raised by her grandparents from birth.

“Back then, grandparents were able to write a letter to school or doctors and that was totally acceptable,” Harper Angel said. “I’ve had a lot of grandparents and aunts and uncles come up to me and tell me about the barriers that they’ve faced in trying to get health care for the child that they are caring for.”

Harper Angel says that her bill has bi-partisan support and feels that it has a good chance to pass this session.

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