All Kentucky kids deserve to be in safe, loving, and stable homes. Last year, the House Working Group on Adoptions began formally meeting with the goal of bringing innovative reforms to the adoption process in Kentucky. However, the Working Group moved well beyond the scope of adoptions and took a comprehensive look at the whole continuum of care within the child welfare system.

With the bipartisan leadership of Representatives David Meade and Joni Jenkins, the House Working Group on Adoptions heard from the youth affected by the child welfare system, foster parents, kinship caregivers, advocates, providers, and other experts to get an understanding of what changes needed to be made to the system to ensure it was working better for children and families.

House Bill 1 is a big step toward getting us to a place where all the parts of the system and related policies work together and produce better outcomes for all involved. It addresses policy change within the courts, within the Cabinet for Health and Family Service, and within the organizations and agencies serving kids who come to the attention of child protective services.

Some major highlights include:

  • The development of an advisory committee within the legislature that focuses just on child welfare system improvements
  • A focus on quality of and access to family preservation services for children and parents
  • Ensuring foster youth in care aren’t kept from retrieving their birth certificate due to the costs associated with requesting copies from the state
  • The establishment of a kinship care program and other supports within state statue
  • Advanced notification to foster parents before a child in their care moves placements to help with a smoother transition for the child
  • Changing processes, procedures, and requirements established for children in out-of-home care for timely reunification with their parents or other types of permanency within a family

To learn more about the movement of House Bill 1, check out the Kentucky General Assembly Bill Tracker. View the fact sheet on keeping kids safe from abuse with improvement in how we respond to and support families here. HB 1 is a policy priority of the Kosair Charities® Face It® campaign to end child abuse. Stay tuned for a deeper dive into the details of HB 1 on our blog.