by Brenna Angel, Kentucky Public Radio
Governor Steve Beshear is ordering the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services to open records about child abuse cases that resulted in fatalities or near fatalities. His office is also drafting legislation that would require the release of certain information.
“We need to have a public discourse and a public debate and bring all the experts in. And let the legislature address exactly what information that they feel is appropriate to be mandatorily released and what should be kept confidential,” Beshear said today.
Kentucky is currently a so-called “permissive” state when it comes to information on child fatalities, which means that authorities can choose whether or not to make redacted case records available. It took a judge’s order for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to release records in the case of Amy Dye, a nine year old western Kentucky girl who lived in an abusive home and was beaten to death by her adoptive brother.
In his announcement today, Beshear expressed confidence in Cabinet Secretary Janie Miller and said social workers have a difficult job and not enough resources. But the governor emphasized that more transparency and review are needed to keep Kentucky’s children safe.