Andrea Bennett

Statement by Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates

When it comes to the child welfare and court systems, transparency has merit, but it must result in better outcomes for the children affected. That’s why we support SB 40, sponsored by Senator Julie Raque Adams to create a pilot project to open courts in child welfare cases. This is an opportunity to start small and learn from that opening chapter. It gives us a chance to evaluate the impact on children whether positive or negative. It allows the public to learn about the challenges of the system and work to improve it. It also promotes accountability for all involved in the courtroom to ensure children receive the best possible outcomes in often terrible situations.

We look at SB 40, which passed the Senate Judiciary Committee today, with real hope that a pilot project can guide our future steps and efforts. We appreciate the multiple groups working on this bill who have come together on a version that can move forward this year. Thank you to the External Child Fatality and Near Fatality Review Panel for recommending this as a solution to prevent future child abuse deaths and the bill’s sponsor Senator Julie Raque Adams for championing SB 40. We also applaud the Senate Judiciary Committee for moving this bill forward today and look forward to seeing it move on the Senate floor.