OpEd Preventing Child Deaths

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Feb 11th, 16

STATEMENT

For Immediate Release

Contact: Jill Seyfred               

(W): 859-225-8879 ext. 232  

 

Preventing Child Deaths – A Step in the Right Direction

 

Lexington, KY February 11, 2016 - One topic around which Kentuckians can unite is that of protecting the Commonwealth’s youngest citizens. How we do that, of course, is often debated and discussed. Talk to 10 people, and you will get 10 different responses.  One idea that has been introduced the past two years to our elected officials serving in Frankfort, is that of opening child abuse and neglect proceedings within the Commonwealth's juvenile court system. This marks the second consecutive year in which Senator Julie Raque Adams has proposed legislation to move our state in the right direction by allowing the creation of a small number of pilot sites in Kentucky courts.  The intent of this legislation, is to promote “transparency, accountability, and systems improvement.”  Children benefit when decisions made by the professionals operating in the system are subject to public scrutiny, and the public will benefit from a greater understanding of the complexities of the child welfare system.

 

Senator Adam's proposal, Senate Bill 40 (SB 40), utilizes a commonsense approach to moving our state toward greater openness.  Beginning with pilot sites will allow Kentucky to identify and refine best practices before implementation in every jurisdiction.  SB 40 also contains safeguards which effectively balance the public’s need for information with a child's legitimate interest in confidentiality. This balance is achieved by exclusion of all child sexual abuse cases, prohibiting the use of recording equipment in juvenile court proceedings, and allowing the judge to close hearings upon a motion and finding that opening the proceedings would be detrimental to the child.  

 

Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky strongly supports this important legislation. As evidenced from the past two reports released by the Child Fatality and Near Fatality Review Panel, this legislation is an important step in preventing child abuse deaths.  We encourage the Kentucky General Assembly, and the Bevin administration, to support this effort to provide a safeguard for our children.

 

Senate Bill 40 passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 11, and is now headed to the full Senate for a vote. We urge you to contact your elected official at 502-564-8100 to ask for their support of this important piece of legislation.

 

 

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Prevent Child Abuse America, founded in 1972 and based in Chicago, works to ensure the healthy development of children nationwide. The organization promotes that vision through a network of chapters in 49 states and over 400 Healthy Families America, home visitation sites in 37 states, the Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and Canada. A major organizational focus is to advocate for the existence of a national policy framework and strategy for children and families while promoting evidence-based practices that prevent abuse and neglect from ever occurring. To learn more about what we’re doing to prevent child abuse and neglect and how you can help, please visit our websites preventchildabuse.org and healthyfamiliesamerica.org.

Prevent Child Abuse America, founded in 1972 and based in Chicago, works to ensure the healthy development of children nationwide. The organization promotes that vision through a network of chapters in 49 states and over 400 Healthy Families America, home visitation sites in 37 states, the Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and Canada. A major organizational focus is to advocate for the existence of a national policy framework and strategy for children and families while promoting evidence-based practices that prevent abuse and neglect from ever occurring. To learn more about what we’re doing to prevent child abuse and neglect and how you can help, please visit our websites preventchildabuse.org and healthyfamiliesamerica.org.

Prevent Child Abuse America, founded in 1972 and based in Chicago, works to ensure the healthy development of children nationwide. The organization promotes that vision through a network of chapters in 49 states and over 400 Healthy Families America, home visitation sites in 37 states, the Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and Canada. A major organizational focus is to advocate for the existence of a national policy framework and strategy for children and families while promoting evidence-based practices that prevent abuse and neglect from ever occurring. To learn more about what we’re doing to prevent child abuse and neglect and how you can help, please visit our websites preventchildabuse.org and healthyfamiliesamerica.org.

 

 

Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky is Kentucky’s leading statewide child abuse prevention organization. To learn more about what we’re doing to prevent child abuse and neglect and how you can help, please visit www.pcaky.org.

Jill Seyfred is the executive director of Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky.


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