All children need safe homes and caring relationships to grow and thrive. No child should ever experience abuse but unfortunately, in 2012, over 16,000 children were victims of abuse in Kentucky. Kentucky Youth Advocates promotes policies and programs that work to prevent child abuse, such as the HANDS home visiting program. We also work to support youth in foster care to make sure they can recover from trauma and be in a safe environment. In addition, we work to support children being raised by relatives when they cannot safely stay with their parents. See our Kinship Families page for more information on this.
Kentucky Youth Advocates is a proud partner of the Face It® Movement led by Kosair Charities, which is working to end child abuse in Jefferson County.
- In 2014, Kentucky Youth Advocates worked with Face It® Movement partners and other community leaders to pass House Bill 157, which will ensure doctors receive needed training to recognize early signs of pediatric abusive head trauma and know how to report it.
- In 2012, Kentucky Youth Advocates successfully advocated for the creation of an External Child Fatality and Near Fatality Review Panel to help review what went wrong in tragic cases of children dying from abuse and identifying solutions to prevent future deaths from occurring. House Bill 290, which passed the Kentucky General Assembly in 2013, placed the panel into law and strengthens the panel’s ability to gain access to full records to review cases and increases the panel’s oversight and independence. In 2014, we were successful in securing funding for the panel in the state budget so it can be effective to fulfill its purpose.
- In response to the high rates of child deaths due to abuse and neglect in Kentucky, Governor Beshear proposed a $21 million increase during the 2012 legislative session for the two following years to hire 300 additional state social workers. The final budget passed by the Kentucky General Assembly retained this funding, so new social workers would be hired to reduce caseloads and more effectively work to reduce child deaths and near deaths due to abuse and neglect.
- Kentucky Youth Advocates successfully advocated for Senate Bill 213 during the 2012 General Assembly which 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. Many foster care youth felt the previous time period of six months was not enough time to make this crucial life decision. 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.