Kentucky kids deserve to grow and thrive free from abuse and neglect, and they depend on adults to keep them safe. Many settings where children are cared for require some type of background check, but the screenings and requirements vary. Stronger background checks would help ensure that kids are safe in the care of professionals.
Senate Bill 236 seeks to close the gaps in background checks of adults who work with children at schools, summer camps, and in the home as babysitters or nannies.
Below, one parent shares her traumatic experience of having someone come into her family’s home and abuse their child. Though her son wouldn’t have been protected by the changes sought in SB 236, because the abuser had not been caught by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services nor the courts, she understands the importance of giving parents the information they need to know to make critical decisions to keep her child safe.
In October 2008 the ER Doctor at Kosair informed me that my son Jake, who was only 4 months old, had a broken arm and a broken leg. I sat there in that hospital trying to understand how this could have happened. I knew in my heart who did this, but tried so hard not to believe it. There’s no way the babysitter could have done this.
The ER nurse grabbed my arms, held me tight, and told me, “They’re coming. It’s going be a long night. Your son has spiral breaks. These are intentional breaks and your son is just a baby.”
Still in such denial, I’m thinking who’s coming? I just wasn’t getting it. As the night turned into the next day, they did come. “They,” I found out, were more doctors, nurses, police, and child protective services. Through the questioning and investigation, Dr. Melissa Currie from the Pediatric Forensic Department informed us that not only did Jake have a broken arm and leg, but also an older break in his leg that was healing. She also informed us that YES the babysitter was responsible for Jake’s injuries and that she had a history of abuse with her own children – a history that was only found during the investigation of Jake’s injuries.
A mother’s worse nightmare just came true. This was my nightmare and now my baby was a statistic. Jake was abused by the babysitter.
Just because you’re happily married, have a college education, go to church, or eat family meals together does not exclude you from child abuse. Our family is proof that child abuse is real and can happen to anyone.
I do believe in all my heart that SB 236 could provide a useful tool for parents as they choose child care. It may even prevent another mother from going through the nightmare that I did.
Lori testified on SB 236 at the Senate Health and Welfare Committee on March 1st and the House Health and Family Services Committee. It passed the Kentucky Senate and House committee unanimously. It now awaits approval on the Kentucky House floor.
Track SB 236’s progress throughout the 2017 Kentucky General Assembly on our bill tracker.
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