Mara Powell

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

LOUISVILLE, KY – With today’s passage of Senate Bill 36 by the House Judiciary Committee, Kentucky is one step closer to a more efficient and effective juvenile justice system that holds kids accountable, helps them grow up to become contributing members of their community, and increases public safety.

SB 36, sponsored by Senator Whitney Westerfield, seeks to expand court discretion when determining the transfer of youth to adult court for certain offenses. This pragmatic measure will allow for speedier trials, more cost-effective and developmentally appropriate responses, and better access to rehabilitative supports and services for young people who get in trouble. Its passage is more important than ever as youth of color continue to be overrepresented in the juvenile justice system at all points due, in part, to factors like mandatory policies that focus on toughness rather than what works to keep youth from committing an offense in the future.

We thank Senator Westerfield for continually championing legislation to improve outcomes for youth involved in the maze of the juvenile justice system. We also thank the House Judiciary Committee for supporting the measure, and we now call on the full Kentucky House to support its passage before the final gavel at the end of March.

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