Adoption reform ‘near and dear’ to Lincoln lawmaker

Published 3:23 pm Thursday, March 9, 2017

FRANKFORT – As the father of an adopted daughter, State Rep. David Meade said a recent bill passed by the House of Representatives is one that is “near and dear” to him and his family.
The bill, sponsored by Meade (R-Stanford), aims to streamline the state’s adoption process by creating an Adoption Task Force consisting of four members from the House and four members from the Senate – the governor also has the option of appointing to additional members.
“They’ll be charged with looking at streamlining the process, taking away any of the redundancy in paperwork, cutting the costs and getting rid of any of the excess red tape to try to speed up the process,” Meade said Tuesday this week.
The resolution was passed by the House on Feb. 27, according to a press release from the House Republican Leadership Office, and was expected to be heard by the Senate Health and Welfare Committee March 8.
It was about four-and-a-half years ago when the Meade family adopted their now six-year-old daughter, Cara. It took about two years before they were able to officially welcome Cara into the family and an additional year to finalize the adoption process, Meade said.
As far as the average cost of adoption, it greatly depends on what adoption agency you choose and where children are adopted from, Meade said.
“Some domestic adoptions, if you can get into the right adoption system you can adopt fairly inexpensively but for the most part I would say the average is anywhere from $18,000 to $35,000,” he said.
Regardless of the cost and time associated,  the House Majority Caucus Chairman said his personal adoption experience has been “worth every minute and every penny.”
In the Feb. 27 press release, Meade said his “hopes and prayers are to ease the burden on adoptive families, make the process less costly and to put children in loving homes.”
There were several other members of the Republican caucus who voiced approval for the task force and shared personal experiences with the adoption process in Kentucky, according to the release.
House passes Meade’s bill to relieve family court backlogs
The House recently passed a second measure sponsored by Meade which aims to relieve backlogs for family courts in the 28th and 54th judicial circuits.
According to a Feb. 27 press release from the House Republican Leadership, House Bill 515 will add family court judges to the 28th circuit, which serves Lincoln, Pulaski and Rockcastle counties, as well as the 54th circuit, which serves Boone and Gallatin counties.
The bill comes after a study showed an immediate need for judges based on “extreme caseloads,” the release states.
“After a statewide study of caseloads, we saw some judges maintaining the work of two judges,” said Meade. “The backlog that results from this issue forces our families and children to suffer the most. I commend the House for swiftly passing this measure, and I look forward to the positive impact it will have on Kentucky families.”
Additional judgeships in the 28th and 54th circuits will be contingent upon funding allocated in the biennial budget, according to the release, and vacancies will be filled by a gubernatorial appointment.
The bill now heads to the Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee for consideration.