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About Cortney Downs

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So far Cortney Downs has created 20 blog entries.

A Focus on Black Maternal Health & Outcomes

Since 2002, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health recognizes April as National Minority Health Month, established to support efforts to educate on and eliminate health disparities for ethnic and racial minority groups. This year, the Office is highlighting the importance of providing healthcare services, information, and resources that are linguistically and culturally competent to create better and more equitable health outcomes for everyone.  April is also when Black Maternal [...]

By |2023-04-27T12:40:08-04:00April 27th, 2023|Blog, Health, Race Equity|

Addressing the Leading Cause of Child Death in the Commonwealth: Firearms

At the final 2022 hearing for the Commission on Race and Access to Opportunity, Rep. Keturah Herron presented on legislation that would develop an Office of Gun Violence Prevention in Kentucky’s Department of Public Health. The office would take the lead in creating gun violence policy recommendations, community-based intervention and prevention ideas, and collecting and disseminating data that shows the geographic region, frequency, and the nature of the violence (e.g., self-inflicted, intimate partner, community, etc.). [...]

By |2022-12-06T13:20:44-05:00December 6th, 2022|Blog, Child Welfare & Safety, Health, Race Equity|

Updates on SB 8 Implementation from the Child Welfare Oversight & Advisory Committee

The Child Welfare Oversight and Advisory Committee met last week and heard testimony from the Office of the Attorney General and the Department of Community Based Services about the implementation of Senate Bill 8, a policy priority of the Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children and the Kosair Charities Face It Movement. SB 8 was sponsored by Senator Julie Raque Adams and reformed pieces of the child welfare system. More importantly, SB 8 expanded access and opportunities [...]

By |2022-07-28T15:28:53-04:00July 28th, 2022|Blog, Child Welfare & Safety|

Reflections from the 2022 KY Commission on Race & Access to Opportunity

Read about the November 2021 meeting of the Commission on Race and Opportunity here.  Following the 2021 General Assembly, SB 10, co-sponsored by Senator Givens, Senator Whitney Westerfield, and Senate President Robert Stivers, became law and established the Commission on Race and Access to Opportunity. The group is tasked with studying and researching issues where disparities may exist across various sectors to determine areas of improvement and to provide services and opportunities for communities of [...]

Guide to Supporting Children Who Have a Parent Incarcerated

At Kentucky Youth Advocates, our vision is to make Kentucky the best place to be young. However, the traumatic experiences of young people who have a parent incarcerated are all too often overlooked or misunderstood. Whether they live with their other parent at home or with a kinship or fictive kin caregiver, the adults in a young person’s life can play a role in supporting their ability to weather the hardships that come with [...]

By |2022-05-19T15:12:38-04:00May 18th, 2022|Blog, Bloom Kentucky, Justice|

Next Steps in Justice Legislation in Kentucky

During the 2022 General Assembly, several bills that were on the Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children policy priority agenda made it to the Governor’s desk, as well as a number of innovative bills that prioritize support for children and families. For example, Senator Whitney Westerfield’s SB 90 establishes a pilot program to create behavioral health treatment alternatives to incarceration and will allow criminal charges to be dismissed upon successful completion of the program. As we celebrate [...]

By |2022-04-28T09:58:33-04:00April 28th, 2022|Blog, Bloom Kentucky, Justice, Race Equity, Youth Justice|

The Primary Caregiver Law & Minimizing the Impact of Parental Incarceration

Having a loved one who is incarcerated impacts everyone, especially children. Kentucky has the 6th highest rate of parental incarceration with more than one in ten children having a parent who is incarcerated and more than half of all incarcerated adults – 64% of women and 55% of men – being parents. Parental incarceration is an Adverse Childhood Experience, or ACE, because it can negatively affect a child’s short and long-term behavioral, educational, and health [...]

By |2022-03-22T18:30:41-04:00March 22nd, 2022|Blog, Bloom Kentucky, Justice|

Address the Root Cause of Behavior, Don’t Criminalize It

Kids are kids, and we should not expect them to act like tiny adults. However, when our response to elementary school-age children who get in trouble involves the juvenile justice system, that’s exactly what we’re doing. Interacting with police, being in court, and experiencing incarceration can be traumatic. It can also negatively impact a child’s development, interrupt their schooling, and keep them in a system that’s easy to get into and difficult to get out [...]

By |2021-07-07T11:07:07-04:00July 7th, 2021|Blog, Race Equity, Youth Justice|

Supporting LGBTQ+ Youth Health and Mental Health

The Kentucky legislature has proven that a bipartisan blend of head and heart can be effective when addressing young people’s well-being. From school safety and resilience to reforming the child welfare system, they have shown that finding common ground to achieve common sense solutions results in critical systemic changes. And issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity, though strongly polarizing, do not have to be any different. There should be an unanimity of voice [...]

By |2021-06-30T14:30:29-04:00May 20th, 2021|Blog, Child Welfare & Safety, Health|

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|
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