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Update on the Kentucky Commission on Race and Access to Opportunity

When the final gavel sounded on the 2021 General Assembly, several pieces of legislation passed that will begin to close gaps in opportunity for children of color. Among these policies that became law was Senate Bill 10, co-sponsored by Senator David Givens, Senator Whitney Westerfield, and Senate President Robert Stivers, which established a Commission on Race and Access to Opportunity. The Commission is tasked with providing studies, research driven policy proposals, and annual reports crossing [...]

By |2021-09-02T16:58:26-04:00September 2nd, 2021|Blog, Child Welfare & Safety, Justice, Race Equity, Youth 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|

Implementation of 2021 Wins for Kids

Many of you joined us in advocating for the 2021 Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children policy and budget priorities through virtual meetings, calling, or emailing your legislators, attended Children’s Advocacy Week, and so much more throughout the 2021 legislative session. Your critical efforts paid off with legislative wins for children and positive investments in the state budget. These new laws went into effect June 29th and the new state budget will take effect July 1st. Blueprint [...]

Statement on JCBE School Suspension Decision

Contact: Mara Powell mpowell@kyyouth.org Statement by Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates LOUISVILLE, KY – The decision by the Jefferson County Board of Education to “suspend suspensions” for our youngest children is far more than a simple change in disciplinary procedures. Instead, it is an affirmation of Superintendent Pollio’s persistent efforts to create a student-centric school system. This change in disciplinary processes will create a ripple effect with an impact than cannot be [...]

Closing the Gaps in Behavioral Health Care for Kids in Louisville

In partnership with the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence, Kentucky Youth Advocates hosted a virtual behavioral health summit on May 11th. The Closing the Gaps in Behavioral Health Care for Kids summit brought together over one hundred youth, parents, and professionals from various sectors including educators, mental health professionals, legislators, juvenile justice system staff, child advocates, child welfare system representatives, Kentucky’s philanthropic community, and more. The event featured a data presentation on the recent research conducted by KYA and supplemental data from Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) providing context to [...]

Thank You: Wins for Kids in the 2021 General Assembly

The final gavel sounded on the 2021 General Assembly this week! This year, the Governor and the Kentucky General Assembly were tasked with crafting a continuation budget, addressing the systemic injustices that impact our children and families of color, advancing policies to address the COVID-19 pandemic, and other policy priorities that would be good for the communities they represent and the Commonwealth. If we take a second to reflect, that’s a heavy lift in a [...]

Statement on Passage of Senate Bill 36 by the Kentucky House

Contact: Mara Powell mpowell@kyyouth.org Statement by Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates LOUISVILLE, KY – Today’s passage of Senate Bill 36, via another bill, by the Kentucky House advances the commonwealth one step closer to a more effective and equitable juvenile justice system. SB 36, sponsored by Senator Whitney Westerfield, seeks to expand court discretion when determining the transfer of youth to adult court for certain offenses – a pragmatic move that will [...]

By |2021-03-16T16:41:05-04:00March 16th, 2021|News Room, Race Equity, Youth Justice|

Statement on Passage of Senate Bill 36 by the House Judiciary Committee

Contact: Mara Powell mpowell@kyyouth.org Statement by Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates LOUISVILLE, KY – With today’s passage of Senate Bill 36 by the House Judiciary Committee, Kentucky is one step closer to a more efficient and effective juvenile justice system that holds kids accountable, helps them grow up to become contributing members of their community, and increases public safety. SB 36, sponsored by Senator Whitney Westerfield, seeks to expand court discretion [...]

By |2021-03-03T12:12:12-05:00March 3rd, 2021|News Room, Race Equity, Youth Justice|

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|

2021 Bills to Watch that Seek to Advance Race Equity for Kids

As our commonwealth works to overcome the “dual pandemics” of COVID-19 and systemic racism, Kentucky Youth Advocates and the Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children have a common vision of a brighter future for every Kentucky kid and their family. We are counting on legislative leaders to prioritize policies that advance race equity and address systemic racism in the current and future legislative sessions. We previously shared our commitment to ensure all policies within the 2021 Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children policy agenda [...]

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