More than 200 advocates from across Kentucky gathered in Louisville last Saturday at the Kentucky Summit to End Child Abuse Deaths. Participants heard from a range of diverse perspectives including legislators, judges, professionals from multiple disciplines, and officials from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. After the morning panels, attendees at each table prioritized solutions for ending child abuse deaths in Kentucky. The solutions from the table discussions were compiled, and the group at large voted on the four policy solutions they want Kentucky leaders to act on during 2012.
See what the Courier-Journal, Lexington Herald-Leader, and WFPL had to say about the event at the links below:
- Child advocates call for greater transparency in abuse death, injury cases, Courier-Journal
- Summit on child abuse deaths recommends more transparency from Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Lexington Herald-Leader
- Child Welfare Summit Proposes Recommendations to Change Policies, WFPL
Below is the final letter that was signed by those in attendance, and sent to Governor Steve Beshear, Senate President David WIlliams, and House Speaker Greg Stumbo.
AN OPEN LETTER
To: Governor Steve Beshear, Senate President David Williams, and House Speaker Greg Stumbo
Date: January 14, 2012
Subj: A Call to Action: END CHILD FATALTIES DUE TO ABUSE AND NEGLECT
We are judges and professors. We are physicians and educators. We are social workers and elected leaders. We are grassroots advocates and business executives. We are child care workers and law enforcement officers. We are moms and dads and we are nonprofit executives. And we – 200 Kentuckians in total – came together today for a singular purpose – to end child fatalities and near fatalities due to abuse and neglect.
We listened to leaders from the judiciary, the legislature, and the executive branch today. We heard from experts in interdisciplinary sectors. And we understand that there is neither a singular solution nor a simple roadmap to end children dying from abuse and neglect. Rather, the solutions are multi-dimensional. The path to end child fatalities from abuse and neglect will require long-term commitment and thoughtful consideration.
But let us be clear. We can begin to address the issue in immediate and effective ways. As a gathering of Kentuckians from across the Commonwealth, we came to a consensus on specific policy solutions around which we expect you to act during the 2012 Kentucky legislative session. These solutions have a track record of success. They will make an immediate impact on the well-being and safety of Kentucky’s children. And we call upon you to act in a bi-partisan way to protect the children of Kentucky.
Our call to action includes:
- Improve transparency and accountability of the Cabinet.
- Increase funds for proven and effective services such as START, CASA, HANDS, In-home services, and parent advocate programs.
- Increase funds for additional DCBS social workers and support.
- Improve system collaboration among agencies involved in the child welfare system.
These four proposals must be acted upon during the 2012 General Assembly. Kentucky’s children are counting on you to turn these ideas into reality before the final gavel falls. No more children should die while waiting for change to occur.
Please find the Kentucky Summit to End Child Abuse Deaths participant’s signatures attached to this letter. I would welcome additional conversations around the aforementioned proposals. Kentucky’s kids are counting on you.
Terry I. Brooks, Ed.D.
Kentucky Youth Advocates