We’ve had many wins for kids by passing policies that will benefit children and families with the help of state leaders and gracious support from our donors.
- Closed gaps in background checks to keep kids safe – SB 236 keeps kids safer from abuse by closing the gaps in background checks of adults working with children in schools, youth camps, and in the home as private babysitters.
- Helped children who stay on track succeed – SB 195 allows youth who stay on track to expunge additional offenses from their records and make the process for expungement automatic.
- Helped parents leaving incarceration support their families – SB 120 helps parents who have served their time get back to work and care for their children after reentry into the community.
- Allowed children to stay with an adult they trust when they are removed from their home – HB 180 allows close family friends to serve as kinship caregivers when children are removed from their home due to abuse or neglect.
- Prevented parents from being held back by past mistakes – HB 40 allows for the expungement of lower-level felonies and will help parents get back to work and support their families.
- Protected victims of child abuse – SB 60 better protects child victims of abuse by allowing in court a child’s more generalized testimony of repeated abuse, known as a continuous course of conduct.
- Equipped all educators to know how to recognize and report child abuse – SB 119 ensures all public school educators receive important information about child abuse and neglect so they can help protect children.
- Protected teens and children from effects of dating violence – HB 8 extends protective orders to victims of dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. This protects many teens in dating relationships and children whose parents experience violence in dating relationships.
- Strengthened the child care sector in Kentucky – HB 429 established a Child Care Council to help ensure working parents have several quality child care options available to them.
- Helped low-income working parents pay for child care – Restored funding for the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) allowed many parents, many of whom had been dropped from the program due to budget cuts, receive help paying for child care so they can continue to work to support their families.
- Improved Kentucky’s response to and outcomes for youth who make mistakes – Prior to the passage of SB 200, Kentucky locked up children in jail for minor things like skipping school and running away from home at one of the highest rates in the nation. SB 200 will help address problems youth face when they begin to arise and provide needed services to youth and their families to get youth back on track for success.
- Helped children raised by relatives access health care and education – SB 176 allows kinship caregivers without legal guardianship to sign a form indicating they are the primary caregiver of a child in order for the child to receive health care or enroll in school.
- Helped reduce child deaths from pediatric abusive head trauma – HB 157 will help equip doctors with education on how to recognize early warning signs of pediatric abusive head trauma and intervene.
- Secured funding for the child fatality review panel – Funding for the panel will allow it to more closely review child abuse death tragedies and develop recommendations to help prevent future deaths from occurring.
- Initial support for relatives raising kin children – Funding will provide assistance to caregivers when children first come in their care to buy necessities such as a bed or clothes.
- Helped increase the availability of school based oral health services – The passage of SB 159 will allow schools to more easily implement school based oral health programs to help meet dental needs of their children.
- Support for children to receive preventive oral health care – Funding for oral health will ensure children receive preventive oral health services such as varnishes and sealants to improve oral health across the state.
- Successfully advocated for a panel to reduce child abuse deaths – Kentucky Youth Advocates worked hard on the successful passage of House Bill 290 passed in 2013, which put into law a panel to review child abuse deaths, improve practices in the child welfare system, and prevent future child abuse deaths.
- Helped victims of human trafficking – The passage of House Bill 3 during the 2013 General Assembly will ensure that victims of trafficking, especially children exploited in commercial sex, will be treated as victims rather than as criminals and be given access to healing services.
- Helped youth in foster care transition to adulthood – The passage of Senate Bill 213 allows foster care youth at age 18 to have a full year to decide whether to stay in the care of the state until they turn 21, which came at the request from foster youth themselves. The bill also changed the name of the process from “recommitting” to “transitional living supports” to take away any negative connotations associated with staying in the care of the state after age 18.
- Improved quality of alternative education – The successful passage of House Bill 168 prohibits superintendents from assigning teachers or staff to an alternative program as the result of a disciplinary action. This bill helped promote quality education for the 45,000 youth in district-operated alternative programs.
- Raised awareness of youth justice issues – The passage of House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 129 created a taskforce to take an in-depth look at a number of aspects of the juvenile justice system, including the practice of locking up youth for misbehaviors like skipping school and running away.
- Increased access to recreational facilities – The successful passage of Senate Bill 110 encourages more schools to open up their facilities to the community by extending the same protections from liability that they have during the school day if someone gets hurt while on school property after school hours. This will ultimately help reduce obesity as community members will have more places to exercise.
Wins prior to 2012
- Reduced rate of uninsured children – We successfully campaigned the Governor to take steps to simplify the enrollment process and increase outreach to children eligible for the Kentucky Children’s Health Insurance Program.
- Improved oral health – With our support, a bill ensuring children enrolling in kindergarten get a dental screening or exam to address oral health problems passed in 2008.
- Increased child safety through booster seats – The passage of a bill in 2008 ensured children who are too big for infant seats but too small for regular seats are in a safe booster seat in order to reduce the risk of crash injuries.
- Improved school response to bullying – In 2008, Kentucky Youth Advocates supported passage of a bill which requires the state Department of Education to craft discipline guidelines for bullying. The bill also requires local school authorities to alert law enforcement when school harassment involves a potential felony.
- Improved Kentucky’s child sex abuse laws to better protect children – In 2008, Kentucky Youth Advocates supported passage of House Bill 211 which broadened Kentucky’s child sex abuse laws while increasing penalties for abusers and those who fail to report abuse. The bill includes older children under state laws that protect minors from first-degree sexual abuse by raising the age of children covered by the law from 12 to 16, or 16 to 18, if the perpetrator is in a position of trust or authority.
- Reduced teen deaths – Kentucky Youth Advocates worked on a Graduated Drivers License (GDL) bill that would ease Kentucky teens’ transition from passengers to drivers. A new GDL law went into effect on October 1, 2006 and the Kentucky teen death rate has since declined.
- Closed loopholes in the Captive Real Estate Investment Trust- Kentucky Youth Advocates supported the passage of House Bill 258 which disallows the dividend paid deduction to captive real estate investment trusts (REITS). The new law closes a loophole and will provide an estimated $20 million to the state’s revenues annually.
- Raised the minimum wage – Kentucky Youth Advocates co-chaired the Raise the Wage Coalition to increase the state’s minimum wage. House Bill 305 became law, increasing Kentucky’s minimum wage of $5.15 an hour by $2.10 in 2008 and 2009. The wage went up to $5.85 an hour on June 26,2007, $6.55 an hour on July 1, 2008 and $7.25 an hour on July 1, 2009.