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Kentucky Kids Take Center Stage at Capitol Rally

February 18, 2010

FRANKFORT, Ky. - In what could be one of the most difficult years of crunching numbers Kentucky has ever seen, advocates are coming together for a rally this morning at the state Capitol, urging lawmakers to keep kids in mind. Hundreds of advocates from across the state are rallying for the kinds of programs that can advance children's issues in Kentucky without breaking the bank.

Kentucky Youth Advocates executive director Terry Brooks says what that will take legislatively is both a step back and a look ahead.

"There are any number of proposals that they can act upon that are not based on dollars, but they're based on a commitment to common sense policies."

Among those policies, says Brooks, is a crackdown on predatory practices surrounding payday lending, and implementing more preventative programs in the state's child welfare and juvenile justice systems. An investment in those areas will put Kentucky in a stronger position to prosper when the economy more fully recovers, he adds.

Brooks understands it would be a mistake to go to the Kentucky legislature this year and demand sizeable increases in funding for children's programs.

"We know that this is not a time when advocates for children and families - or, frankly, advocates for any other sector - can realistically go to an elected leader and say, 'We need a doubling of the budget.'"

However, Brooks says, shaky bottom line or not, Thursday is a day when Kentuckians who care about kids need to let lawmakers know where they stand.

"Our goal is to have every senator, to have every representative, look up and see their constituents looking them squarely in the eye and asking them, 'What are you going to do this year for Kentucky's youngest citizens.'"

Registration for the 6th Annual Children's Advocacy Day at the Capitol begins at 9:30 a.m. EST on the 2nd floor Mezzanine, and the rally beings at 10 a.m. EST in the Capitol Rotunda. Additional information is available on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PublicNewsService.

Tom Joseph, Public News Service - KY