Mara Powell

For immediate release: February 24, 2022

Kentucky Youth Advocates and Community Partners Awarded $140,000 by Prevent Child Abuse America and the Annie E. Casey Foundation to Support Child and Family Well-Being as Part of the Thriving Families, Safer Children Effort

Louisville, KY — Kentucky Youth Advocates announced today a $140,000 grant from Prevent Child Abuse America® (PCA America) and the Annie E. Casey Foundation through the Thriving Families, Safer Children, Youth, Family and Community Partnership Grants to support our work focused on child and family well-being through a lens of prevention and equity.

A total of $1,000,000 was granted to 10 community-based organizations selected for funding. Sixty-three organizations nationwide submitted proposals to receive funding.

“To reform the child welfare system, we must simultaneously focus on prevention, intervention, and healing.  And just as each of those elements are crucial, it is also vital to engage elected leaders at every level and in every branch of government, as well as community-based, family serving organizations and family members and neighbors. But, perhaps the most overlooked – and yet arguably the most important voices to which to listen – are those who have been impacted by the system. Through this partnership with Prevent Child Abuse America and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Truth Telling Circles Project will ensure that the voices of those directly affected will be heard and heard with clarity,” said Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates. “A particular focus of this effort will be to confront the systemic disparities of race, class, and geography in an authentic way that generates change. The power of those personal histories will change policy. The power of those personal stories will improve practice. And, the power of those personal stories will deepen commitment.”

The Kempe Center, the University of Louisville, and True Up – which is an initiative of Kentucky Youth Advocates – will act as leaders of the Truth Telling Circles project in Louisville.

Thriving Families, Safer Children is a first-of-its-kind effort of the U.S. Children’s Bureau, Casey Family Programs, the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Prevent Child Abuse America. The partnership is working in 22 sites from coast to coast and a sovereign tribal nation. The Thriving Families effort seeks to demonstrate that intentional, coordinated investment in a full continuum of prevention and robust community-based networks of support will promote overall child and family well-being, equity and other positive outcomes for children and families.

The goals of the grant include:

  • Expanding the capacity of the Thriving Families movement to develop and maintain more equitable working relationships and authentic partnerships between the child protection and family serving systems and communities.
  • Strengthening, supporting, and connecting youth, parents, and community members with real life experiences as they emerge in leadership roles within the Thriving Families movement.
  • Increasing opportunities for Black, Latino and Indigenous children, youth, and families to experience wellbeing and avoid unnecessary involvement with child protective services.
  • Implementing race equity strategies in communities disproportionately impacted by racial disparities.

“Parenting is challenging in the best of times. These challenges have now been exacerbated by an ongoing global pandemic and moments of acute racial and civil unrest that have highlighted longstanding inequities affecting families nationwide. This is the moment we must step up for children and families, and the grass-roots organizations that were selected for this Thriving Families, Safer Children grant are doing just that,” Dr. Melissa Merrick, president & CEO of PCA America. “At a time when all families and systems are experiencing some level of strain, these organizations are bringing creative ideas to the table on how to bridge communities to build safe, stable and nurturing environments for children and families.”

“We must do more to engage parents, young people and kin in developing the solutions that work for them to keep their families together — especially in Black, Latino and Indigenous communities, where we know families are disproportionately affected by the negative consequences of system involvement,” says Leslie Gross, director of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Family Well-Being Strategy Group, which is part of Casey’s Center for Systems Innovation. “We all hope to exist in a place where people can get the support and resources they need right in their own communities – like healthcare, mental health, financial support, housing, education and work. With these grants, we are underscoring our commitment to the importance of partnering with people with real life experience and communities to ensure that families have the resources and support they need to remain together and thrive.”

Kentucky Youth Advocates, in partnership with Prevent Child Abuse America, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and community partners, will codesign a Truth Telling Circle (TTC) alongside foster care alumni, the Counsel for Truth: Public Health Initiative, and Louisville’s Beloved Community. Upon the launch of Louisville’s TTC, Kentucky Youth Advocates will develop a facilitator learning community, recruit and support participants, and analyze impact to inform improvements. The goal of the project is to activate young adults with a foster care experience to lead development of opportunities to engage in truth telling practices and shape a new narrative around rightsizing concepts of safety and protection with those of child and family well-being, justice, and belonging.

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

About Prevent Child Abuse America
Commemorating its 50th year in 2022, Prevent Child Abuse America is a leading champion for all children in the United States. Founded in 1972 and headquartered in Chicago, we are the nation’s oldest and largest organization dedicated to the primary prevention of child abuse and neglect, working to actively prevent all forms of child abuse and neglect before they occur. Our success is founded on a nationwide network of state chapters and nearly 600 Healthy Families America home visiting sites, which directly provide parents and caregivers a wide variety of services and resources that help children grow up to be productive, contributing members of their communities and society. Our comprehensive approach is informed by science—we translate and disseminate innovative research to promote proven solutions that our vast network then puts into action. And we raise public awareness and advocate for family friendly policies at the national, state and local levels to support transformative programs and promote the conditions and contexts that help children, families and communities across the country thrive. Visit to learn more.

About the Annie E. Casey Foundation
The Annie E. Casey Foundation is a private philanthropy that creates a brighter future for the nation’s children by developing solutions to strengthen families, build paths to economic opportunity and transform struggling communities into safer and healthier places to live, work and grow. Visit to learn more.

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