A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky Youth Advocates: Nearly one in five women in Kentucky smoked during pregnancy in 2018

Nearly one in five women in Kentucky smoked during pregnancy in 2018, according to the 2019 Kentucky KIDS COUNT County Data Book that was released by Kentucky Youth Advocates (KYA). While the statewide rate of smoking during pregnancy in 2018 was 18.7 percent, about the same as 2017, the number of counties with rates exceeding 30 percent rose from 22 to 24; Lee and Owsley counties continued to have...

New report shows 16 percent of Kentucky’s children are growing up in concentrated poverty

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service The economy may have bounced back from the Great Recession, but that hasn’t helped the 163,000 Kentucky children living in concentrated poverty, according to a new report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Patricia Tennen, chief operating officer of Kentucky Youth Advocates, says stagnant wages, rising housing costs and lack of job opportunities for parents,...

Jessica Brown: New federal law gives Kentucky chance to reduce number of children in foster care

This summer, Kentucky social workers, educators, judges, prosecutors, nonprofit leaders, state legislators, and many others traveled across the state to learn about the federal Family First Prevention Services Act, its implementation in Kentucky, and what it will mean for families in the Commonwealth. The Family First Regional Convenings sought to share information about the federal legislation, the...

State’s school districts want to make sure all of Kentucky’s kids are counted during 2020 census

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Kentucky school districts want to make sure their students are counted when the 2020 census begins in April. Educators are gearing up to spread the word to parents and communities about the counting of every resident in the nation. Michelle Elison, a Louisville-based partnership specialist with the U.S. Census Bureau, says children are the largest undercounted...

Kentucky 34th in overall well-being in Kids Count; best rank in health, worst in ‘family and community’

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News The 30th annual Kids Count Data Book on children’s well-being, released Monday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Kentucky Youth Advocates, ranks Kentucky 34th in the overall well-being of its children, where it has hovered since 2012. Nearly one in four Kentuckians are children. Kentucky’s highest rank, 25th, was in health. One of the state’s...

New survey shows Kentucky’s child care centers received leg up from $42 million in additional funding

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Kentucky’s child care centers are able to offer support to more working families since the state received $42 million in additional funding last year, according to a survey by the advocacy group Kentucky Youth Advocates. More than 120 child care providers in 43 counties said they used the funds to increase access to child care for foster parents, and to...

Senators McConnell, Kaine introduce bipartisan Tobbaco-Free Youth Act, raising to age 21 to buy

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) have introduced the bipartisan Tobacco-Free Youth Act, which would raise the nationwide minimum age to buy all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and vaping devices, from 18 to 21. As senators from two states with a long history of tobacco production and consumption, Senators McConnell and Kaine have seen the negative...

Kosair Charities’ Face It Movement brings together partners, leaders committed to ending child abuse

The Kosair Charities Face It® Movement brought together community partners and leaders committed to ending child abuse during a special luncheon this week, featuring keynote speaker Rachel Denhollander. Initiated in 2013, the movement was founded by Kosair Charities in response to the number of child abuse deaths in Kentucky. The luncheon, held at the Kentucky Science Center, serves as the culminating...

New report finds majority of Kentucky’s more than 8,000 foster children are being placed with families

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service More Kentucky children in foster care are being placed with families, according to a new report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. More than 8,000 children in Kentucky are in foster care, and about 81% live with relatives or in a family setting, compared with an 86% family placement rate nationally. The findings show Kentucky is in line with other states in working...

Advocates hoping this is the year lawmakers move to throw tobacco and e-cigarettes out of Ky. schools

At a Jan. 22 rally in the state Capitol, students, educators and health advocates asked Kentucky lawmakers to pass a law to make all schools in the state 100 percent free of tobacco and electronic cigarettes. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, said passing such a law should be a “no-brainer” for state elected officials who are committed to kids. “Many issues...

KY Youth Advocates, Foundation for Healthy KY warn of surge in teen e-cigarette usage; it’s not safe

A new infographic from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and Kentucky Youth Advocates highlights the surge in e-cigarette usage among teens seen across the Commonwealth and the nation. While youth cigarette smoking in Kentucky has steadily declined, the growing popularity of e-cigarettes, known as vapes and Juuls, is putting a new generation of teens at risk of nicotine addiction. “Kentucky...

New Infographic outlines the dangers of electronic cigarettes, with focus on epidemic of teen usage

A two-page infographic from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and Kentucky Youth Advocates aims to fight the surge in use of electronic cigarette usage among Kentucky teenagers. “While youth cigarette smoking in Kentucky has steadily declined, the growing popularity of e-cigarettes, known as vapes and Juuls, is putting a new generation of teens at risk of nicotine addiction,” the foundation...

National Adoption Month: Focus is on adoption of the 9,800 KY children who need permanent, loving homes

By Tina Agonva Kentucky Youth Advocates Every child needs a family. We know that children succeed when they are with caring adults who can help guide them as they grow. The Commonwealth has over 9,800 children living with foster families or in group homes as a result of abuse, neglect, or dependency. The goal in Kentucky is to reunify children in foster care with their parents, and, when that cannot...

New data shows number of Kentucky kids being raised by relatives has nearly doubled since 2013

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service Thousands of Kentuckians open their hearts and homes to help the children of loved ones during times of crisis. And new data highlights the need to better assist these kinship families. According to Census data, there are 96,000 Kentucky kids being raised by a relative, nearly double the number in 2013. That includes about 15,000 children who were removed from their...

Terrance Sullivan: Louisville’s family recovery court back after 10 years, addresses whole-family issues

Family is important. When a member of the family is going through a hard time, the rest of the family shares in that struggle, and when the family experiences successes, the rest of the family can revel in that joy as well. In light of the rise in substance use disorders both nationally and especially here in Kentucky, many families are facing more of those low times and, unfortunately, the children...

New report explores barriers facing young families, offers potential solutions to help them thrive

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service For some of Kentucky’s young adults, the already challenging transition to adulthood is complicated by becoming a parent. And a report released today explores the unique opportunities to help young adult parents during this period of growth. According to the findings, 57,000 Kentucky kids have a parent between the ages of 18 and 24, and 80 percent of those...

New census data shows rate of Kentucky’s children living in poverty has dropped, but more must be done

New data released recently by the U.S Census Bureau reveals that 22.4 percent of Kentucky children lived in poverty in 2017, a drop from the 2016 estimate of 25.0 percent. Child poverty in Kentucky has finally returned to a level not seen since before the Great Recession. “We must note the progress that has been made on reducing the rate of Kentucky children living in poverty, yet we can’t stop...

Kentucky’s new oral health plan calls for expanded roles for hygienists, expanded dental workforce

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Kentucky’s new plan for oral health calls for the state to expand the role of public-health hygienists, find other ways to expand the dental workforce in under-served areas, and raise dentists’ Medicaid fees. And to pay for part of the plan, it calls for a tax on soft drinks that cause tooth decay. The challenge is that all of these suggestions require...

Comprehensive bill to reform Kentucky’s adoption, foster care system passes house with a 94-1 vote

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The Kentucky House overwhelmingly approved a comprehensive bill that revitalizes the state’s child welfare system. Following months of study, listening sessions, and bipartisan work, the lawmakers nearly unanimously passed adoption and foster care reforms. House Bill 1 will streamline the placement of children into homes, empower foster parents in the process, and make...

State providing financial assistance to family foster caregivers; relatives, fictive kin could get payments

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) has begun financial assistance payments to eligible relative and fictive kin caregivers with children placed in their home by CHFS. An October 2017 federal court ruling by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in the case D.O. v. Glisson requires that Kentucky must pay relatives who serve as foster parents in the same manner it pays adults...