Kentucky OK Senate Bill Addresses High Rate of Child Abuse | Kentucky News

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By BRUCE SCHREINER, Associated Press

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky Senate on Wednesday passed a sweeping measure aimed at addressing chronically high rates of child abuse and neglect by expanding preventive services.

The measure has won bipartisan praise as critically important in a state plagued by consistently high national rankings for its rate of child abuse and neglect.

The bill overwhelmingly approved the Senate, sending it to the House.

A key part of the measure would expand the use of family preservation services to work with families when children are deemed to be at “moderate risk” of being removed from the home due to abuse or neglect. The goal is for early intervention to prevent potential abuse or neglect.

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“This is a huge shift in policy and practice, when it comes to working with families,” said Republican Senator Julie Raque Adams, the bill’s lead sponsor. “And it’s a key provision to prevent child abuse and neglect. Our goal here is to prevent poor outcomes and safeguard families.

The measure would expand the scope of the Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Prevention Council to include all forms of child abuse and neglect. The board would be renamed the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board. This would allow the state to focus on child welfare issues, Adams said.

The legislation is Senate Bill 8.

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