Each year, Kentucky Youth Advocates releases the Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children policy agenda featuring the lead priorities for kids and families. For 2023, the Blueprint priorities focus on strengthening systems and policies to advance equity and uplift every Kentucky family.

The Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children is a coalition of non-profit, public, and private organizations that stands on three pillars: thriving communities launch strong families, strong families launch successful kids, and successful kids launch a prosperous future for Kentucky.

We can make the Commonwealth the best place in America to be young with policies that:

  • Support maternal mental health by requiring postpartum depression screenings at appointments after birth
  • Strengthen Kentucky’s families and workforce by conducting a study focused on developing a Paid Family Leave infrastructure that is best suited for the Commonwealth
  • Prevent youth vaping and tobacco use by establishing a statewide tobacco retail license that ensure retailers are selling tobacco products only to those 21 years and older
  • Strengthen the juvenile justice system in ways that prioritize community safety and right-size responses to youth misbehavior, such as implementing an effective continuum of interventions
    for the system to hold youth accountable and establishing a minimum age – at least 12 years old – that a child can be charged with an offense
  • Ensure survivors of intimate partner violence can access unemployment insurance benefits if their reason for not working is directly related to the violence, assault, or stalking
  • Promote housing stability by establishing a process to automatically expunge an eviction from a family’s record after they have been eviction-free for a reasonable amount of time and seal eviction filings that do not result in an eviction
  • Update Kentucky’s homeless ID law to allow unaccompanied homeless youth to get an ID without parental permission
  • Eliminate the use of corporal punishment in schools to create safer, more nurturing learning environments for students
  • Perform a program review to ensure that A6 educational programs for youth in the care of the Department for Community Based Services and Department of Juvenile Justice are accountable and equitable in terms of learning outcomes, finance, and governance
  • Establish an independent Ombudsman that provides oversight of the child welfare system by investigating concerns of safety and well-being, identifying systemic issues related to administration or practice, and making recommendations for improvements
  • Within child welfare cases, ensure improved timelines to permanency, better understanding of laws and regulations, and improved court processes by transferring all case hearings and needed resources to the Office of Legal Services within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services
  • Close the gaps in reporting of suspected maltreatment to ensure the reporting of child abuse or neglect is properly communicated to the appropriate external agencies, not only the agency who employs the adult suspected of abuse, and investigated

View the fact sheets for the 2023 Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children policy priorities at kyyouth.org/blueprintky/.

Advocates, take action by reviewing these 5 ways to ensure you are prepared to advocate for Kentucky kids during the 2023 session:

  1. Look up who represents you in Frankfort and how to contact your state Senator and Representative, as well as information on bills, committee schedules and agendas, research reports, and more from the Legislative Research Commission. Redistricting and the 2022 election brought several changes for many Kentuckians.
  2. Bookmark our 2022 Kentucky General Assembly Bill Tracker webpage so you can stay up-to-date on bills that are good for kids.
  3. Sign up for updates about the 2023 Children’s Advocacy Week on February 6-10, featuring virtual events throughout the week and in-person events at the Capitol on February 8th.
  4. Check out the latest KIDS COUNT County Data Book to see how kids are faring across Kentucky and in your county.
  5. Follow us on social media (FacebookTwitter, and Instagram) as we countdown the 2023 session days. Use the hashtags #BlueprintKY, #CAWKY23, and #KYGA23 to stay up-to-date throughout the session.

Kentucky’s over one million kids are counting on the House, Senate, and Governor and YOU to prioritize them in 2023!