25 Jan New Year, Same Goal: Keep Our Kids Safe
This post originally appeared as an op-ed in the Courier Journal on January 25, 2018.
By Keith Inman, President of Kosair Charities®
As we embark on a new year, we at Kosair Charities® are looking ahead to a Commonwealth that ensures all of our kids are free from abuse. Through our Face It Campaign, Kosair Charities is committed to ensuring hard working and dedicated nonprofits in Louisville and across Kentucky have the resources they need to end the plague of child abuse and neglect, and to end it now. The Face It Campaign works closely with over forty partner organizations to prevent child abuse and neglect in our communities by focusing on education, awareness, practice, and policy improvements.
The Face It policy team has been hard at work identifying priority policy changes needed at the state level. In years past, we’ve secured state funding for the Child Fatality and Near Fatality External Review Panel and closed gaps in education around abuse and neglect for professionals who regularly interact with children. We continue to look upstream in our efforts to prevent child abuse and neglect by advocating for common sense policies that lead to large scale, proactive differences. Kosair Charities is the safety net to ensure all children in Kentucky have better tomorrows.
Each year during the Kentucky General Assembly, Face It partners actively work on several policies that focus on preventing and ending abuse. The 2018 priorities keep kids safe by prioritizing adequately funded systems, increasing transparency, and ensuring a child’s voice in court is heard.
- We aim to keep kids safe from abuse and neglect with adequate funding and improvements in how we respond to and support families. For children who cannot remain safely with their parents, grandparents and other relatives often step up to help raise them, commonly known as kinship care. Kinship care offers a beneficial alternative to foster care and helps to relieve trauma children often face upon removal from their home. Regardless of where a child is placed, children do best when the entire system of child welfare prioritizes supporting families or swiftly finding a permanent family for children who can’t return home.
- Our goal is to increase transparency by recommending moving functions related to appeals and cases within the Office of the Ombudsman to outside of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. To ensure children are protected and cared for, to increase transparency and accountability, and reduce potential conflicts of interest, several states locate their Ombudsman’s office for children’s services in an independent location. These measures would keep kids at the center of the Ombudsman’s Office’s decisions.
- We want to see policymakers keep kids safer from abuse by allowing adults to whom a child has disclosed abuse to testify in court. When adults are held accountable in the court system, kids are safer from abuse. If a child has been a victim of abuse, trauma and fear may affect their ability to testify in court. Their fear or inability should not prevent a judge from hearing accurate information about a child’s experience, which is crucial in reaching an informed decision in child abuse cases. If a child has disclosed information about abuse to an adult, that adult could testify about that disclosure.
Everyone plays a role in ending child abuse and neglect in the Commonwealth. Kosair Charities works on every level of the system to ensure children have the supports they need to be safe and healthy with opportunities to thrive. Learn more at faceitabuse.org.