Last week we, along with advocates from across Kentucky, celebrated both progress for kids during the 2019 legislative session and the courageous action of local heroes who are transforming how their communities care for kids. And what a celebration it was!

The Cheers for Children 2019 Celebration lifted up four key Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children priority bills that were passed by the General Assembly and signed into law by the Governor:

  • Senate Bill 1 will increase student safety and access to behavioral health services in schools.
  • House Bill 2 will improve state supports and data reporting for kinship caregivers.
  • House Bill 11 will enact a statewide tobacco-free school campus policy.
  • House Bill 158 will establish a bill of rights for children in foster care and begins to align state child welfare laws with federal laws.

If those four policy wins weren’t enough to inspire you, we also presented the Courage for Kids awards to local advocates who are leading the way for progress in their local communities:

  • Jane Emke is a tireless advocate committed to improving the lives of children and helping families struggling with addiction through the development of the Family Recovery Court in Jefferson County. Award presented by David Nicholson, Jefferson County Circuit Court Clerk.
  • BRIDGE Kentucky is a group of residents of Glasgow, Kentucky dedicated to wrapping around the children in foster care in their community to ensure they have the best possible childhood and future. Award presented by Keith Mason, Engagement Catalyst at UnitedHealthcare.
  • Monroe County CARES is a group of south-central Kentucky high school students working to reduce the use of tobacco, alcohol, and drugs among their peers and who were key advocates in the passage of House Bill 11. Award presented by Veronica Cecil, Vice President for Policy at the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

The Cheers for Children 2019 Celebration featured food and drink tastings from local restaurants, a raffle, and a bourbon pull. We also heard from Norma, a grandmother, kinship care advocate, and true hero for kids whose efforts with Kentucky Youth Advocates are shifting the future for relative caregivers in Kentucky. Watch the video here.

And because we are already working on the 2020 policy agenda, those in attendance were also called to “light the way to 2020” with a gift to Kentucky Youth Advocates. Were you unable to attend Cheers for Children but would like to help light the way to 2020? Please consider making a gift here.

Thank you to the Cheers for Children Presenting Sponsor, Kosair Charities®, and Partner Sponsors, Belmar Flower Shop, Contemporary Galleries, Phil Brown Insurance Company, the Porcini/Farmer Children’s Foundation, Stoll Keenon Ogden, and Wilson & Muir Bank & Trust Co. Thank you also to the Kentucky KIDS COUNT sponsors—Passport Health Plan, Delta Dental, Kosair Charities, and UnitedHealthcare—whose support makes strong policy recommendations possible.

Thank you to the food and beverage partners: Adrienne and Company, bar Vetti, Berserker Brew Coffee, Bud’s Tavern, Cheddar Box Cafe, Coopers’ Craft, Derby City Nutrition, Divinity Catering, Mark’s Feed Store, Pantry Plus Liquors! And thank you to the many individuals and local businesses who donated items for the raffle baskets and bourbon pull.

And of course, thank you to all of the advocates who attended Cheers for Children, and thank you to all of the advocates working on behalf of kids every day across the commonwealth. Without you, none of this celebration would be possible.

View more photos from the event on our Facebook page here.