LOUISVILLE, KY – Over one in five Kentucky children have experienced at least two Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), such as experiencing or witnessing violence, being separated from a parent due to incarceration, or having substance use present in the household. Bloom Kentucky is a collaborative initiative of grantmaking organizations from across the Commonwealth focused on statewide policy changes and budget investments that aim to prevent and mitigate the multi-generational impacts of childhood adversity so that every child can grow up happy, healthy, and hopeful.
With the reconvening of the 2022 Kentucky General Assembly, Bloom Kentucky is releasing its state policy and budget priorities.
“Each of the Bloom Kentucky grantmaking organizations has unique perspectives and goals on the well-being and futures of our communities. There are many local programming efforts underway to improve outcomes for kids experiencing adversity, and we know that these Bloom Kentucky state policy and budget priorities will complement that important work and make broader change for families,” said Barry Allen, President & Treasurer, The Gheens Foundation, Inc.
The Bloom Kentucky 2022 policy priorities seek to mitigate the impacts of two ACEs in particular, domestic violence and parental incarceration. The initiative is also advocating for a strong state budget that invests in Kentucky’s child care infrastructure and youth mental health outcomes so children are set up for success.
- Employment and financial independence are critical for survivors of domestic violence to be able to support themselves and their children when they leave an abusive relationship. Kentucky can remove barriers to permanently leaving an abusive relationship by ensuring unemployment insurance is available to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
- To minimize the impact of incarceration on children, Kentucky needs a system of justice that promotes accountability and reserves incarceration for those who pose a flight risk or risk to public safety. Kentucky can utilize community-based sentencing alternatives that promote both rehabilitation and accountability while factoring in whether a person is a primary caregiver so parents can continue providing for their children.
- Access to high-quality, reliable child care allows parents to get and keep a job, sets children up for success in school, and strengthens Kentucky’s economy. Kentucky can build an infrastructure for child care that improves access to high-quality care that allows parents to work, children to thrive, and local economies to grow.
- Every student can succeed academically when provided trauma-informed, supportive school environments. Kentucky can increase funding to improve access to school-based health providers and to school-based behavioral health services to improve student health and well-being.
“Too many young people from our mountains to our cities are experiencing trauma, whether fueled by parental drug addiction, mental health issues, generational poverty, or other factors. By understanding the root causes and community conditions that led to these poor outcomes, we can truly make impacts that will last generations. The foundation is committed to building our community’s capacity through early childhood education, community development, and common sense reforms for recovery and criminal justice. Through Bloom Kentucky we believe we can change the trajectory of kids across the commonwealth,” said Gerry Roll, Chief Executive Director, Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky.
Adverse Childhood Experiences are serious traumatic or stressful events that occur prior to age 18 that can result in toxic stress, causing harm to a child’s brain. This toxic stress can reduce a child’s ability to manage their emotions and may make it difficult to learn, to play in a healthy way, or respond to challenging situations. If not addressed, as children exposed to trauma become adults, toxic stress can increase the risk of intimate partner violence, substance use, and suicide, among other poor outcomes.
“Kids are our future, and we must work to ensure that their safety and well-being is prioritized in every policy and budget decision. Bloom Kentucky’s priorities will improve outcomes for kids who have experienced trauma and build strong families across the state. As the Chair of the House Health and Family Services Committee, I’m proud to support these commonsense measures in Frankfort so that our most vulnerable children have the chance to succeed,” said Representative Kim Moser.
Learn more about Bloom Kentucky and its state policy and budget priorities at bloomkentucky.org.
Bloom Kentucky is supported by a growing list of grantmakers, including Blue Grass Community Foundation, Brown-Forman Foundation, C.E. & S. Foundation, Inc., Central Kentucky Community Foundation, Community Foundation of Louisville, Community Foundation of South Central Kentucky, Community Foundation of West Kentucky, Felix E. Martin Jr. Foundation, Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky, The Gheens Foundation, Inc., The Gilbert Foundation, Inc., The Greater Clark Foundation, Harshaw Family Foundation, Humana Foundation, James Graham Brown Foundation, Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Kentucky Foundation for Women, Kosair Charities, Laura Goad Turner Charitable Foundation, Lawrence & Augusta Hager Educational Foundation, Lexington Clinic Foundation, Lift a Life Novak Family Foundation, Marilyn & William Young Foundation, Mildred V. Horn Foundation, Nickles Foundation, The Norton (Family) Foundation, Inc., Public Life Foundation of Owensboro, Snowy Owl Foundation, The V.V. Cooke Foundation, and Wood & Marie C. Hannah Foundation.
About Kentucky Youth Advocates
Kentucky Youth Advocates believes all children deserve to be safe, healthy and secure. As THE independent voice for Kentucky’s children, we work to ensure policymakers create investments and policies that are good for children. Learn more at www.kyyouth.org.