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Kentucky Advocates: Not Coal or Horses, Kids Are Our Greatest Asset

February 16, 2012

FRANKFORT, Ky. - More than 1,000 voices are expected to ring out at the state Capitol today with a single message for Kentucky lawmakers: "As you craft legislation and promote policies, keep kids in mind."

Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates says Children's Advocacy Day acts as a reminder that children need to be considered in many facets of state government.

"Whether it's health or safety, education or early childhood, we think there are golden opportunities to improve the lives of children today, and we know that if we improve the lives of children today, we're going to improve Kentucky tomorrow."

It's easy for children to get lost in the shuffle in Frankfort, Brooks says, because they don't vote, they don't contribute money to political campaigns and they don't have their own political action committee. That means it's up to adults who care to speak on their behalf, he says.

Because the number of issues affecting children is so broad, Brooks' group and others have put together a Blueprint for Kentucky's Children. It includes three priorities: safe and healthy families, a fair deal for working parents and a fair opportunity for every child, he says.

"The blueprint really looks at children in a holistic way, and the policy agenda has to reflect that reality."

the 2011 Kids Count survey ranked Kentucky 41st in the nation in overall child well-being. Brooks points out that the numbers are lower in some key categories "such as the percentage of children who live in poverty, where we're 48th in the nation. If we're not careful, in just a couple of years we're going to remember this 41st ranking as the good old days."

The rally is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. today in the Capitol Rotunda.

Tom Joseph, Public News Service - KY