Statement by Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director, Kentucky Youth Advocates
LOUISVILLE, KY – The Kentucky General Assembly has once again demonstrated their deep commitment to supporting our most vulnerable children who have experienced abuse or neglect with today’s unanimous final passage of Senate Bill 8. This legislation is a necessary next step in Kentucky’s efforts to fundamentally strengthen and reform the child welfare system to best serve children. With the leadership of Senator Julie Raque Adams, SB 8 will reach the Governor’s desk as the Commonwealth prepares to honor April as Child Abuse Prevention Month.
SB 8 will impact children across the child welfare continuum – from child maltreatment prevention to investigation to healing and out-of-home care. The measure will create a uniform definition of child abuse and neglect that clearly differentiates between neglect and poverty, establish new membership of the State Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board, and ensure victims of child maltreatment have access to critical medical examinations. SB 8 also will broaden the definition of fictive kin to include those with an emotionally significant relationship with a parent or sibling and expand opportunities for youth aging out of foster care by allowing them to extend care up to two times before the age of 20.
As the latest federal Child Maltreatment Report shows, Kentucky no longer has the highest child victimization rate in the nation, yet trends still show the urgent needs to support families so every child can grow up healthy, safe, and able to thrive. With our partners in the Kosair Charities Face It Movement, we thank Senator Raque Adams for her tireless advocacy for our most vulnerable in the Commonwealth. We also thank the Kentucky House for ensuring final passage of SB 8 this legislative session. We now call on the Governor to sign the measure into law.
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 www.kyyouth.org.