A new digital portal called Kentucky RISE (Resources for Independence, Success and Empowerment) is set to be unveiled Wednesday at the Kentucky Independent Living Youth Empowerment Conference, in Lexington.
The new website is part of a rebranding project for the state's independent living program for transition age youth in the foster care system. The web-based portal, kyrise.ky.gov, will be accessible to the public beginning June 24. Kentucky RISE will contain links for resources including education, job training, employment, and housing options.
Both current and former foster youth were instrumental in advocating for the portal. “We are thankful to the Voices of the Commonwealth, a group of youth transitioning out of the foster care system, for informing our practice and their needs,” said Eric Clark, Commissioner for the Department of Community Based Services (DCBS).
“They share an invaluable perspective and have incredible insights,” he added. “They have encountered the very system we are all committed to transforming, and we are glad to be able to deliver on one of their recommendations by creating a one-stop shop website portal dedicated to providing access to key pieces of information and resources to foster youth.”
Kentucky RISE will contain a link for foster youth to complete an application and receive their vital records - for example, their birth certificate. Additionally, the portal will have a link to the “Fostering Success” program, a summer employment initiative. More than 80 employers with various opportunities have signed on for this year’s program.
While the portal is geared toward youth ages 14 and older, the website will be accessible to foster parents, community partners, and the public in general. Vital records will only be available to the youth.