Andrea Bennett

Statement by Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates

Budgets require tough choices and wise compromise. Tough budget times are the moments when we learn what lawmakers hold as values and priorities. Now that the Governor, House, and Senate have put forth their respective versions of a state budget, the real test comes for Kentucky and its children.

Will we invest in the Child Care Assistance Program as a real lever for local economic development with increased eligibility for (working?) families and higher provider reimbursement rates? Will we invest in child welfare practices like family preservation and kinship care that are best for kids and real money savers for the state budget? Will we pay a little now around juvenile justice prevention and diversion or will we pay more later in terms of dollars and dealing with adult offenders? There are dozens of key questions like this that our legislative leaders face as they come together to hammer out a consensus budget.

Opportunities abound to make smart decisions for kids and smart decisions for the budget. Lawmakers need to make those budget opportunities become a reality for the Commonwealth’s kids.