A concerned neighbor, school teacher or family generally once served as the only means to protect children in troubled homes. That was before government organized foster care.
Community members still work to protect children. Citizen Foster Care Review Boards work with the Department for Community Based Services and local courts to oversee each foster child.
Lyn Guarnieri, chairwoman of the Franklin County Foster Care Review Board, said it meets monthly to review cases.
Kentucky law requires review boards in each county. The board evaluates a child's placement plan and if all steps have been taken to achieve a permanent home. The board makes specific recommendations to the court regarding a child's placement.
Guarnieri said the board's purpose is to be certain children do not fall through the cracks in a government system and Kentucky is the only state to mandate this program.
"Kentucky is really progressive in this statute," Guarnieri said. "We're ahead of the game."
The Franklin County Citizen Foster Care Review Board seeks volunteers to continue the process of protecting children.
Guarnieri said board membership is one of the most worthwhile of volunteer opportunities.
"With such a small investment of time, it's a huge impact on a life," Guarnieri said.
For more on this story, see the latest State Journal.