Judge Says State Withheld Too Much From Child Abuse Records

by Gabe Bullard on December 22, 2011

Additional reporting from the Associated Press

A judge has ruled that Kentucky officials withheld too much information from child abuse records released last week.

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services released the records after a social worker was accused failing to adequately investigate allegations of abuse that eventually led to a child’s death. However, the Courier-Journal and Herald-Leader newspapers sued, saying too much information was redacted. That reignited calls for more transparency in the cabinet.

Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd says the cabinet redacted so much information from the documents that they were essentially useless.

The cabinet’s attorney argues that some information was redacted because it was released without the context of a full case file. But Judge Shepherd says such debates must end and the court will enforce the order to release the documents.

The state has asked for the chance to appeal any decision to release complete documents. The judge has agreed.

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