Mara Powell

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

LOUISVILLE, KY – With the Kentucky Senate’s passage of Senate Bill 36 today, Senator Whitney Westerfield once again is championing an 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 seeks to expand court discretion when determining the transfer of youth to adult court for certain offenses – a pragmatic move that 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.

This legislation is more important than ever as we all work to address disparities in outcomes for youth of color so that every Kentucky child has a chance at a brighter future. Despite recent reforms to Kentucky’s system of juvenile justice, 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 Kentucky Senate for supporting the measure, and we now call on the House to support its passage.

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