08 Mar Ways to Act – Face It Policy Priorities
During the 2016 Kentucky General Assembly, Face it partners are actively working on several policies that will prevent and end abuse in Kentucky. There are three issues currently in front of the legislature that require action from advocates to help them progress and make their way to the Governor to be signed. Learn more and take action.
Find out who your Kentucky Senator and Representative are at http://www.lrc.ky.gov/. Email, write a letter, or leave a voice message for your legislator urging them to take action on the following items in support of the Face It® Movement to end child abuse.
HB 475, sponsored by Representative Rita Smart, seeks to strengthen the safety of children in settings they often spend time–in the care of a babysitter and at public school. HB 475 allows parents to check the Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry maintained by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to find out if potential babysitters have substantiated cases of child abuse or neglect on their records. HB 475 also ensures public schools check the Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry upon hire of new employees. Senator Julie Raque Adams sponsored a similar bill in the Senate. HB 475 has passed the full House.
Contact your Senator and ask them to support HB 475.
SB 60, sponsored by Senator Whitney Westerfield, seeks to better protect victims of abuse by permitting courts to accommodate a child’s memory of repeated abuse, known as a continuous course of conduct. Currently, Kentucky courts require a jury to agree on at least one specific incident of child abuse to find the accused guilty. Young children are often unable to remember such details as specific times and dates. SB 60 allows a jury to find that child abuse was committed repeatedly over time based on a child’s more general testimony about a pattern of abuse. Representative Joni Jenkins sponsored a similar bill in the House. SB 60 passed the Senate in January and passed the House in March.
Contact your Senator and Representative and thank them for supporting SB 60.
The Kinship Care Program provides a limited amount of financial assistance to relatives raising their kin children. However, since a freeze on the program in 2013 under Governor Beshear’s administration, no new families have been able to enroll in the program. When children cannot remain safely with their parents, placement with a relative, known as kinship care, can ease the stress of separation and trauma from being removed from home. The current moratorium on the Kinship Care Program prohibits kinship caregivers from applying for assistance to help them meet the needs of the children in their care. Legislators and Governor Bevin have the opportunity to lift the moratorium by including supports of kinship families in the budget.
Contact your Representative and Senator and urge them to re-open the Kinship Care Program to help kinship families thrive.