The Senate stood strong for Kentucky kids today, passing HB 290 to create a child fatality review panel. Senator Denton and primary cosponsors Representative Burch and Representative Wayne are to be commended for this strong bipartisan effort to make sure Kentucky’s most vulnerable kids are safe. The bill puts into law a panel that can make a real difference in the battle against child abuse by ensuring we know what is working and what isn’t.

HB 290 carries important improvements over the Governor’s Executive Order. As an example, the sponsors worked to make sure the panel has access to complete records that will give them the full information needed to identify ways to improve the system and prevent these deaths. The sponsors also worked to find a balance on transparency of information to make sure the public could monitor the process while also respecting the information of others involved in the cases beyond the perpetrator and victim.

The Senate added several significant measures for oversight to ensure the panel is acting in the interest of children and not swayed by the agencies involved. Particularly important is the Senate’s inclusion of legislative oversight to the panel to emphasize independence from the Office of the Governor and Cabinets, which is a key factor in letting the panel do its work in an unbiased manner.

Thanks to the members of the Senate for acting swiftly on this measure. We now encourage the House to concur with the Senate changes so Kentucky can move forward on protecting its children.