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Electric bus movement looks to accelerate; Macron says he has not ruled out using Western troop to help Ukraine stand-up to Russia; two rural Iowa newspapers saved from extinction; BLM announces added protections for sensitive Oregon landscape.

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Speaker Johnson commits to avoiding a government shutdown. Republican Senators call for a trial of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. And a Democratic Senator aims to ensure protection for IVF nationwide.

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David meets Goliath in Idaho pesticide conflict, to win over Gen Z voters, candidates are encouraged to support renewable energy and rural America needs help from Congress to continue affordable internet programs.

Advocacy Day Lifts Up Kentucky Kids

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Thursday, February 9, 2023   

Child abuse reporting dropped during the pandemic, and advocates said strengthening the state's system to ensure suspected cases of child maltreatment are communicated to the appropriate external agencies is one of their top priorities this year.

Annie Boggs, board member of Kentucky Youth Advocates, is one of hundreds of advocates who gathered on Wednesday at the Capitol in Frankfort to promote improved child abuse reporting and other priorities on the group's Blueprint for Kentucky's Children.

She said it is critical to ensure kids who have experienced abuse have the resources and wraparound supports they need.

"We have a lot of missed opportunities coming out of COVID, where the reporting was down," Boggs explained. "We need to get back to being the voice for children and making sure that those needs are being raised up as we see them."

The Commonwealth has made strides to address child abuse. Last year, lawmakers passed Senate Bill 8, which created the state's Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board, clarified the definition of neglect, and ensured victims of child maltreatment have access to critical medical examinations.

Tamara Vest, policy analyst for Kentucky Youth Advocates, hopes legislators work to establish an independent ombudsman office to oversee state agencies involved in child welfare and investigate complaints involving the safety and well-being of kids, as well as make recommendations for improvements.

"That's something that the state agency who oversees foster care and the legislators and others advocates have to work on together," Vest contended. "How do we ensure that those reports are being investigated?"

She added the state could make changes to the court system toward an agency representation model, to ease the burden on caseworkers and help ensure children are placed more quickly in stable living situations.

Disclosure: Kentucky Youth Advocates/Kids Count contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, and Children's Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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