February 22, 2013

Kentucky Child Abuse Panel Set Up in Bill

A bill has been passed by 96-0 by the Kentucky House to set up a permanent panel that will perform a review of all deaths of children, or children that have come close to death, through neglect or abuse.

Under the terms of the bill, those on the panel would be allowed access to information from child protective services which haven't been altered in any way. Other access would be granted to medical personnel or police, or any one that has been involved in a case.

The panel, per the bill, will be made up of law enforcement officials, social workers, and medical representatives.

What the bill was passed for is to result in making improvements in the overall child protective system.

Members of the panel have also been given leeway to speak publicly on specific issued deemed necessary for the public to hear. Even so, they will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement.

Rep. Robert Benvenuti, a Lexington Republican, rightly notes that child protective services has operated far too long in secrecy, and adding transparency will "force change" in the way cases and people are handled.

I've been involved in this reality, as I've had foster children of my own, and have watched as others have been devastated by internal battles and turf wars, which because of disagreements, have ended with some people even being thrown in jail or paying huge legal fees to defend themselves.

There have also been wrongly diagnosed children who are placed in families not trained to properly deal with issues they are over their heads in.

Whatever it is, transparency is one of the most important things need in an agency that has almost as much unaccountable power over people to the point they can fail children and people trying to help them.

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