Jessie Whitish

Statement by Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates

Today the Kentucky House has taken a bold step forward in protecting Kentucky kids and putting those kids and families on a path to a brighter, safer, more caring future.

We applaud the Kentucky House for prioritizing kids with HB 1, which sets forth a comprehensive plan for strengthening how Kentucky supports children impacted by abuse and neglect. This legislation reflects the efforts of the bipartisan House Working Group on Adoptions, led by co-chairs Representative David Meade and Representative Joni Jenkins, and their relentless commitment to prioritize the well-being of children.

The Kentucky House has put kids first with this child welfare reform that both emphasizes prevention efforts and commits to the ideal that every Kentucky kid needs a safe and loving family.

HB 1 addresses the entire continuum of care by making changes to the foster care and adoption system, including strengthening 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. These reforms align with the priorities identified by the Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children and the Kosair Charities Face It campaign to end child abuse.

We applaud the diligent work of the House Working Group on Adoptions and for the leadership of co-sponsors Representative Meade and Representative Jenkins on HB 1.

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.