KS senator would give foster families extra money for clean livi - KCTV5 News

KS senator would give foster families extra money for clean living

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A Kansas state senator wants to offer more money under a proposed foster care program to married couples who don't have alcohol and tobacco in their homes and regularly attend church.

Sen. Forrest Knox, R-Altoona, said foster children need more stability. His bill would set up the CARE family program, in which those eligible would be paid more than other foster care homes.

"It's my intention in this legislation to provide stability and security to the children who have lost theirs," Knox said.

Qualification requirements include a husband and a wife being married for at least seven years. One of them also can't work outside the home.

Under the planned program, families could receive state money to help home school their foster kids or send them to a private school.

The Senate's Judiciary Committee debated the proposal on Thursday.

Some foster parents said they found a special class of foster families troubling.

Tom and Ginny Howell have been foster parents since 2002. At the time, Ginny Howell was 25 years old and they weren't married yet, but they knew they could care for children who desperately needed love.

"They are the reason I get up every day and do everything I do," Tom Howell said.

They have fostered six children. Three of them are now in their teens.

"As a foster parent, it puts you in a different world where you have no idea of the capacity you have to be connected to another human being," Ginny Howell said. "Blood has nothing to do with it."

They said Knox's bill tries to create an idealized version of the perfect family.

"Love is all that matters," Tom Howell said. "The idea that there's this prescription for what a stable loving family looks like just made me laugh."

Knox wants people to volunteer for the program, which he would roll out in phases. The Senate committee didn't take any action on the bill on Thursday.

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