logo1The 2015 legislative session wrapped up this week and proved to be another strong session for Kentucky children. In the end, three Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children priorities were sent to the Governor for his signature. These legislative actions will mean Kentucky children are better prepared for a strong, healthy future.

Senate Bill 119, sponsored by Senator Julie Raque Adams with Representative Rita Smart filing a companion bill in the House, addresses the serious problem of child abuse and neglect by equipping Kentucky teachers with information on how to recognize and report signs of abuse. More than half of Kentucky’s children who experience abuse and neglect are school age. The earlier adults notice signs of abuse and intervene, the better for the child, and school personnel will now be better prepared to protect their students.

House Bill 8, sponsored by Representative John Tilley and championed by Senator Whitney Westerfield in the Senate, extends protective orders to victims of dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Teens, many of whom experience dating violence, can now seek protective orders. Also, now that parents in a dating relationship can seek protection, their children can be protected from witnessing violence and the trauma associated with that.

House Bill 429, sponsored by Representative John Tilley, creates a child care advisory council to ensure a strong child care sector in Kentucky. The many working families who rely on child care know that quality and strong centers are a key component of efforts to increase quality early learning experiences for their children.

Kentucky Youth Advocates and Blueprint partners thank House and Senate leadership for making children a priority in the 2015 legislative session! We also thank the legislative champions and bill sponsors who made these policy priorities a reality, along with the members of each chamber who demonstrated strong support for these priorities as the bills moved through the legislative process. Please take a minute to thank your Representative and Senator for stepping up for Kentucky kids this year.

But legislators were not the only ones who championed kids during the legislative session; thank you to all of you who contacted your legislators about this year’s Blueprint priorities. Thank you to the over 700 parents, students, caregivers, community partners, and advocates who attended Children’s Advocacy Day at the Capitol. Thank you for putting Kentucky’s children first not just in the 30 days of the General Assembly, but each and every day.