FRANKFORT, KY – Hundreds of Kentuckians from across the Commonwealth, including dozens of children and youth, are convening in Frankfort today for the 16th annual Children’s Advocacy Day at the Capitol. They are urging elected leaders to support the Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children, a unified agenda for child advocates across the state.
“Today, youth, social workers, faith leaders, teachers, pediatricians, child care providers, community leaders, and many others unite to ask our state leaders to make Kentucky children a priority during the 2020 legislative session. Kids’ issues are the common ground in which our elected leaders can make state policy and budget decisions that build a brighter future for all Kentuckians,” said Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates.
Governor Andy Beshear, First Lady Britainy Beshear, Senate President Robert Stivers, House Speaker David Osborne, and several other legislators and state officials joined youth and advocates at the Rally for Kentucky Kids at 10:00 AM in the Capitol Rotunda, which included remarks by several Kentucky youth.
The following legislators, state officials, and young people were honored with 2020 Champion for Children awards:
- Senator Ralph Alvarado
- Senator Max Wise
- Representative John ‘Bam’ Carney
- Representative Chris Fugate
- Representative Joni Jenkins
- House Speaker Pro Tem David Meade
- Representative Kim Moser
- Ben Chandler, President and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky
- Nellie Ellis, Youth Ambassador of the Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children
- Norma Hatfield, President of the Kinship Families Coalition of Kentucky
“I may just be one ‘bent not broken’ voice, but I’m confident our lawmakers and leaders will hear my voice along with the one million other Kentucky kid voices. And I’m confident that the audience today will hear my voice because you know that Kentucky kids need each of us, every day. Use your voice as I am today to speak to your legislators and tell them that there is no more important vote than the VOTE FOR KIDS,” said Ana Pohlgeers, member of the Kosair Charities® Face It Youth Leadership Council and a Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky’s Tobacco-Free Youth Ambassador, at the Rally for Kentucky Kids.
At 1:00 PM on the Capitol Mezzanine, Lieutenant Governor Jacqueline Coleman will join youth at the Legislative Reception. The following state leaders and young people will be honored with the 2020 Step Up for Kids awards at the Reception:
- Legislators who served on the School Safety Workgroup
- Senator Alice Forgy Kerr
- Representative Susan Westrom
- Chris Hagans, member of the Voices of the Commonwealth
- Eric Clark, Senior Policy Advisor for Kentucky State Senate
- Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children Youth Ambassadors
- Graves County Agency for Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) Youth Council
- Monroe County CARES Youth Prevention Ambassadors
In addition to the rally and reception with youth, advocates are meeting with legislators throughout the day and attending committee meetings. Several groups of youth are meeting with key leaders, including Secretary of State Michael Adams, the Office of Attorney General Daniel Cameron, Senior Advisor to the Governor Rocky Adkins, Senator Morgan McGarvey, Representative Regina Huff, Representative Kim Moser, and others.
Advocates are pushing for several state policies and budget investments on the Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children 2020 agenda, including prohibiting tobacco sale to anyone under age 21, securing funding for school safety measures, strengthening efforts in child abuse and neglect prevention, building safer communities and brighter futures for kids with more effective responses when children get in trouble, and investing in Family Recovery Courts to help parents achieve sobriety while safely caring for their children.
“As our young people, state leaders, and partner advocates join together for Children’s Advocacy Day, I’m reminded of the profound opportunities the Commonwealth has to improve the lives of kids. Working across chambers and across political parties has paid off in a big way for kids – we’ve seen it with the bipartisan work towards fundamental child welfare reforms and the comprehensive approach to improving school safety. Our lawmakers must continue that trend when crafting the biennial state budget this legislative session,” said Brooks.
Additionally, throughout the week the “Count All Kentucky Kids in the 2020 Census!” art project has been on display in the tunnel between the Capitol and the Legislative Annex. The artwork by Kentucky kids is bringing attention to the importance of a complete and accurate 2020 census count. Young children are the most undercounted age group of the census, which can result in millions of lost funding every year for a decade.
Children’s Advocacy Day at the Capitol is made possible with the support of our many sponsors, including our Kentucky KIDS COUNT sponsors, Passport Health Plan and Kosair Charities®. We appreciate their support of Kentucky’s largest effort to bring child advocates together at the state Capitol. For more information, visit http://kyyouth.org/childrens-advocacy-day-at-the-capitol/.
For more information about the Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children visit http://kyyouth.org/blueprintky/.
For questions about Children’s Advocacy Day or to schedule an interview, please contact Mara Powell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.