Statement by Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates
Today, the Senate Health and Welfare Committee took action to reform Kentucky’s adoption and foster care system, protecting kids and ensuring families are safe and supported, with passage of HB 1.
We applaud co-sponsors Representative David Meade and Representative Joni Jenkins for their diligent work on this measure during the interim to gather input from stakeholders, including youth formerly in foster care. Chair Julie Raque Adams and members of the committee prioritized our most vulnerable Kentuckians with passage today of HB 1, which sets forth a comprehensive plan to strengthen how the commonwealth supports children impacted by abuse or neglect.
HB 1 seeks to strengthen supports to help keep families together safely and, when that’s not possible, addressing timelines for adoption cases so that children can more quickly move toward finding a permanent family. The bill also includes a number of changes that evaluate and improve the performance of programs serving kids and families and help ensure decisions prioritize the best interest of the child. We thank Representative Meade for clarifying language related to neonatal substance exposure to prioritize what is best to ensure women seek and receive substance use treatment for the health and safety of the child.
We appreciate the dedicated work of Representative Meade, Representative Jenkins, and Senate leaders to continue to move this measure through the Kentucky legislature. We thank First Lady Glenna Bevin for her ongoing support and leadership within the systems that protect and care for our commonwealth’s children. HB 1 has real potential to address the entire continuum of care and make the belief that every Kentucky child deserves a safe and loving home a reality.
Stay up-to-date on Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children priorities and other bills that are good for kids on our Kentucky General Assembly Bill Tracker.