Sign up to receive action alerts and other updates about policies that are good for kids and families.


About Cortney Downs

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far Cortney Downs has created 11 blog entries.

Launching Visitation Project to Support Children with Incarcerated Parents

Parental incarceration has often been referred to as a ‘shared sentence’ because of the impact it has on the community, caregivers, and most importantly, the children. In Kentucky, approximately 12% of children have been separated from a parent due to incarceration, the third highest rate in the nation.   As a state, we have taken critical steps to address some of the factors contributing to the rise in parental incarceration. However, there are still tens of thousands of children being impacted. It’s imperative that we work to identify ways to [...]

By |2021-04-30T14:51:09-04:00April 28th, 2021|Blog, Child Welfare & Safety, Justice|

Strengthening the Statute of Limitations for Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse

One in four girls and one in thirteen boys will experience sexual abuse at some point in their childhood, with more than 90% of perpetrators being someone the child or their family knows. Research tells us that most adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse don’t disclose, or tell anyone, about their abuse until much later in their lives. And when abuse is disclosed during childhood there are still delays. James Van Buren, MD, FAAP, UK [...]

By |2021-02-25T15:59:54-05:00February 24th, 2021|Blog, Child Welfare & Safety|

Young Children Do Not Belong in Juvenile Court

The National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN) released a new report highlighting the importance of establishing and, in some states, raising the minimum age for trying youth in juvenile court. There are currently 28 states, including Kentucky, that do not have a minimum age threshold, meaning that children as young as five or six can legally have their complaints brought before a judge. Despite a national decline in youth complaints (or arrests) over the last several [...]

By |2021-02-25T15:53:46-05:00February 24th, 2021|Blog, Child Welfare & Safety, Youth Justice|

Funding Kentucky’s Child Abuse Pediatricians and their Teams

For the third year in a row, Kentucky has the highest rate of child maltreatment in the nation. Kentucky also has much higher rates of domestic violence and caregiver substance use in cases of child abuse than the national average. With more than 20,000 cases of substantiated child maltreatment, the need for expert pediatric forensic services is crucial. However, as Dr. Christina Howard, Child Abuse Pediatrician at Kentucky Children’s Hospital, explained, “Kentucky has five practicing [...]

By |2021-02-11T17:58:51-05:00February 11th, 2021|Blog, Child Welfare & Safety|

The Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Act and New Opportunities for Girls

The reauthorized federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) offers new protections and opportunities to meet the unique needs of some of the most vulnerable kids, especially girls. With expanded federal funding opportunities, Kentucky’s state advisory group, the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board (JJAB), can submit a plan detailing new state programs, projects, and activities to be implemented over a 3-year period within the youth justice system. Proposals can now include “programs that address the [...]

By |2019-09-26T17:26:23-04:00September 26th, 2019|Blog, Youth Justice|

The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act and What it Means for Kentucky Kids

The federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) was first authorized by Congress in 1974 to establish universal standards for how kids are treated in the youth justice system. With a strong emphasis on supporting prevention-focused programs, rehabilitation, and reintegration while still holding kids accountable for their behaviors, the JJDPA quickly became recognized as one of the most significant laws for kids involved in the justice system. On December 11, 2018, after passing through [...]

By |2019-09-12T11:57:47-04:00September 12th, 2019|Blog, Youth Justice|

Practicing Self-Care, Especially When You Love Your Job

Image from the New Social Worker® Social workers (and other helping professionals) often work in demanding contexts and help people process difficult situations. We’re expected to be keenly aware of the negative impact this work can have on our well-being and capacity for burnout. However, during my first years in the field, my understanding of self-care was synonymous with (and limited to) taking a bubble bath or getting a massage after a bad [...]

It’s Time to Talk: Promoting Healthy Dating Relationships Among Teens

I met Nicole* in the emergency room at a children’s hospital when she was 17-years-old. She had been assaulted by her 18-year-old boyfriend and would possibly need surgery to repair the broken bones in her arm. This was not the first time he had assaulted her, but it was the most severe. Some of Nicole’s friends and family knew that they argued a lot or thought they spent too much time together, but no one [...]

By |2019-02-20T13:16:31-05:00February 20th, 2019|Blog, Child Welfare & Safety, Health|

Celebrating Positive Trends in How Kentucky Responds to Youth Who Get in Trouble

Over the past ten years, Kentucky has made significant strides in how we respond to youth who commit status offenses. In 2008, behaviors like running away, skipping school, and acting out were routinely criminalized, with 1,951 youth being detained for status offenses, likely making the behaviors worse instead of addressing the root cause.  As Secretary John Tilley of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet said in 2014, it’s “very negative and damaging for these children [...]

By |2019-02-04T15:19:33-05:00February 4th, 2019|Blog, Child Welfare & Safety, Youth Justice|

Fostering Youth Transitions

In November, the Annie E. Casey Foundation released Fostering Youth Transitions, an issue brief detailing data on the experiences of transition age youth, or youth in foster care who are close to or in the process of transitioning out of the child welfare system. The transition from adolescence to adulthood is a pivotal developmental stage as young people learn the skills needed to be healthy and productive adults, and that transition can be complicated for [...]

By |2019-09-05T12:57:57-04:00December 6th, 2018|Blog, Child Welfare & Safety, Kids Count|
Go to Top