Andrea Bennett

Statement by Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates

Transparency can be an important aspect of child welfare and court systems but it must result in better outcomes for children and the system as a whole. We applaud Senator Julie Raque Adams for sponsoring SB 40 to create a pilot project to open courts in child welfare cases. This is an opportunity to start small and evaluate the impact on children to identify future steps. It allows the public to learn about the challenges of the system and work to improve it. It also promotes accountability for everyone involved in child welfare cases in the courtroom.

We thank the Senate for passing SB 40 today and look forward to it progressing in the House. We appreciate the multiple groups working in tandem on a bill that can move forward this year. We also commend the work of the External Child Fatality and Near Fatality Review Panel for examining ways to prevent future child abuse deaths, including this solution. This pilot has the potential to help child victims of abuse and neglect recover with the best possible outcomes.