Statement by Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates
LOUISVILLE, KY – As the Kentucky General Assembly concludes part one of this short legislative session, the Senate has passed the continuation budget proposal. While the process is advancing swiftly, we are encouraged that this action means leaders in the House and Senate and the Governor can begin negotiations that will ultimately lead to that priority and value proposal that supports Kentucky’s kids in the immediate and sets up our commonwealth’s pandemic recovery efforts in the future.
We’ve continued to attest that Kentucky kids are counting on leaders to prioritize state budget investments that create a brighter future where all children can thrive. Kentucky kids and families need a strong state budget that include the following Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children priorities:
- Sustaining funding for the Medicaid and KCHIP programs, and invest in closing the remaining gap in child health coverage
- Investing in infrastructure to close the digital divide so that kids can access the educational resources and telehealth services they need
- Sustaining funding for Family Resource and Youth Service Centers (FRYSCs), who work with families to remove barriers to student learning
- Ensuring dedicated funding to implement the Expanded Care Services policy to support student mental health
- Sustaining investment in critical services and financial supports for kinship families
- Increasing funding for family preservation and treatment programs that allow families to stay together safely while parents work to achieve sobriety and access mental health and parenting supports
- Expanding investment in child abuse forensic services so all children who experience maltreatment can receive the best care
- Investing in the Health Access Nurturing Development Services (HANDS) in-home visitation program to provide critical supports to new parents
- Protecting funding for safety net programs, including KTAP, CCAP, SNAP and WIC, and ensure they are not modified in ways that prevent children from receiving needed services
The state budget process is complex, laborious, and steeped in negotiation and compromise, and our General Assembly and Governor must remember those over one million Kentucky kids counting on them every step of the way.
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.