Hughes & Coleman Hometown Hero: Lara Mattingly

Lara Mattingly and her family are foster and adoptive parents who also provide support for foster and adoptive families in the region with DCBS.
Published: Jan. 27, 2023 at 2:22 PM CST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - With thousands of children in Kentucky in the foster care and adoption systems, families that take in these children are more necessary than ever.

The families that have taken these children as their own need a little help sometimes navigating all the systems and adjusting to changes.

Lara Mattingly and her family are foster and adoptive parents who also provide support for foster and adoptive families in the region with DCBS.

“Lara Mattingly is so special in so many ways,” said Fonda Walker, Social Work Clinician for the Cabinet of Health and Family Services. “Her talents reach far beyond what any one person should be able to do.”

Lara is described as the type of person who gives until there is nothing left to give.

She recruits, supports, and helps make things easier for families. Even going as far as arranging for home repairs in some cases.

Walker says that when she started the job 29 years ago, foster families had virtually no support when it came to having their needs met during stressful times.

The changes that have occurred in the time that Lara has been a foster parent has brought support in the form of meal drops, mom and dad nights out, individual training for families, babysitting services, shopping for supplies to help with new placements, and even starting fundraising events.

“Lara puts everyone else’s needs above hers,” Walker said.

The staff at DCBS works hard to provide the support they can for the needy children in the area, but with their high caseloads, it is difficult for them to address every situation. They are thankful and appreciative of the assistance they receive from Lara and her family.

“We understand the importance of being supported,” Mattingly said, “Not only the logistics side of that and the way it just makes life easier.

She says that supporting foster families allows them to be families that provide the much-needed love and attention these kids deserve.

“It helps them keep wind in their sails,” says Mattingly. “It helps them keep doing what they’re doing for kids in our area.”

She attributes her dedication and passion to help to her faith.

“Honestly, this passion comes from my belief that Jesus comes to the least of these,” said Mattingly. “Jesus loves the orphan. He loves the widow. He loves those that need him and so that’s where my passion is from is from Christ.”

Ultimately, all of her work goes to benefitting the children and she encourages anyone that has the desire to help to do so in any way they can.

Mattingly loves to talk to anyone about joining classes and finding out what the needs are for the children in our area.

She realizes that being a foster parent isn’t for everyone but believes that everyone can do something to help. Whether it is offering rides, helping raise money, or even delivering meals, there are numerous things the community can do to assist these families.