Mara Powell

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

LOUISVILLE, KY – With passage by the Kentucky House today, Senate Bill 135 has received its final passage before it heads to the Governor’s desk for signature – good news for new parents and their babies.

In Kentucky, over 90% of maternal deaths are considered preventable and more than 25% have mental health conditions as a contributing factor. State data highlights disparities among the cases of maternal mortality with the rate among Black women more than doubling that of White women. SB 135 requires the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to make publicly available information and an assessment tool on postpartum depression and other related mental health disorders, as well as develop and implement a panel aimed at improving the quality of prevention and treatment of perinatal mental health disorders.

With this important first step measure, the Commonwealth can improve access to necessary care and responsiveness of providers to help address the disproportionate rate of Black mothers dying within one year of giving birth. And with House Floor Amendment 1, this measure will now also strengthen supports for babies affected by neonatal abstinence syndrome.

With our partners in the Bloom Kentucky initiative to address adverse childhood experiences, we appreciate the Kentucky House and Senate supporting passage of SB 135 this session and recognizing that maternal health and well-being play a key role in the healthy development of a child at every stage. We thank Senator Shelley Funke Frommeyer and Representative Stephanie Dietz for championing this legislation. Once concurred in the Senate, we call on the Governor to sign it into law so the Commonwealth can improve the ways in which we support maternal mental health.

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.


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