PNS Daily Newscast - April 9, 2020 

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders suspends his campaign for president. And COVID-19 is ravaging the black community in some areas, including Milwaukee.

2020Talks - April 9, 2020 

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders drops out of the race for president, though he assured supporters yesterday his movement will continue. A federal judge ruled this week a lawsuit in Florida awaiting trial will apply to all people with former felony convictions, not just the 17 plaintiffs.

Gov. Beshear Announces Plan to Hire 350 Additional Social Workers

More than 9,000 children in Kentucky live in foster care. (Adobe Stock)
More than 9,000 children in Kentucky live in foster care. (Adobe Stock)
January 31, 2020

FRANKFORT, Ky. - Gov. Andy Beshear says Kentucky will hire 350 new social workers for the Department of Child Protective Services, among other state budget reforms aimed at reducing and preventing child abuse and neglect.

Dr. Terry Brooks - executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates - says the move is encouraging, but can be seen as a first step in a career field with a high turnover rate. He points out the state loses an estimated $13,000 each time a caseworker leaves and their replacement is hired and trained.

"And so, we think hiring more front-line workers is a critical step forward," says Brooks. "By the same token, simply hiring new workers is not enough, because we know the turnover rate is over 100%. We hope that this administration will do some creative, thoughtful approaches to retention."

Brooks believes funding should also be allocated for a refundable State Earned Income Tax Credit to help working families make ends meet. State lawmakers are now working on their version of the two-year budget, which will likely be finalized in early spring.

Gov. Beshear also announced more than $18 million for school security upgrades mandated under legislation that passed last year. But Brooks points out the funding doesn't support onsite therapists or counselors.

He says more conversations are needed to ensure that schools have the behavioral and mental health resources they need.

"On the other hand, we were surprised and disappointed at a rather tepid response to the critical issue of school safety," says Brooks. "We have already heard from leaders in the General Assembly that they intend to bolster that particular arena for kids. And we're really glad that we have a legislative commitment on that."

The governor's budget proposal also aims to close remaining gaps in children's health coverage, and funnel $87.5 million to local school districts.

Disclosure: Kentucky Youth Advocates/KIDS COUNT contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Children's Issues, Youth Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Nadia Ramlagan, Public News Service - KY