We are currently in the homestretch of this year’s legislative session, and as Kentuckians that prioritize speaking up for our most vulnerable citizens, we already have some reasons to celebrate as well as reasons to remain hopeful that the session will result in important wins for kids.
An important win for some of our youngest Kentuckians came in the form of the passage of House Bill 157. This bill requires training on the recognition and prevention of pediatric abusive head trauma for pediatricians, radiologists, family practitioners, and emergency medicine and urgent care physicians. This one-time, one hour training will reduce the number of babies that die from pediatric abusive head trauma, commonly known as shaken baby syndrome, and other forms of physical abuse. No physician wants to miss signs of child abuse, and this bill will help make sure that doesn’t happen.
We thank Representative Addia Wuchner and Representative Susan Westrom for sponsoring the bill. We also thank the Kentucky House and Senate for unanimously passing the bill this session and Governor Beshear who signed the bill into law on March 19, 2014.
Another bill that just passed the House today is the Kinship Caregiver Authorization Law, SB 176, sponsored by Senator Denise Harper Angel. The bill allows a relative caregiver to access educational services and health care treatment for the children in their care when legal custody or guardianship is not feasible. Children should always be able to access education and health care, regardless of living situations out of their control. After the unanimous vote today, the bill should soon head to the Governor’s desk for his signature. This is a great win for kinship families across the state.
The juvenile justice reform bill (SB 200), also passed the House today, which means it is just a few final steps away from heading to the Governor for his signature. The bill will ensure better outcomes for youth and their families while protecting public safety and spending taxpayer dollars more efficiently. We thank Senator Westerfield, Representative Tilley and members of both chambers for moving Kentucky forward on doing what works in juvenile justice.
Lastly, we are hopeful that the final budget is a reflection of the priority that Kentucky places on our kids. As the House and Senate negotiate the final 2-year budget plan, we are hopeful that the budget will include funding to allow families earning up to 150 percent of the federal poverty level to receive child care assistance. This funding will help stop the detrimental effects that are occurring as a result of the cuts to the Child Care Assistance Program last year and will help to keep kids safe and parents employed.
To ensure we finish out strong this session, we encourage you to speak up for Kentucky’s children by asking your legislators to restore funding for the Child Care Assistance Program to 150 percent of poverty in the final budget.
See our Ways to Act to learn more.