A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Webinar on ‘Stopping Vaping and Substance Use’ free on Jan. 11; how to prevent youth risky behavior

Substance use among youth is a persistent problem in Kentucky according to the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Self-reported vaping during the high school years – when the overwhelming majority of adult tobacco users got started – is at a rate of one in four in Kentucky, and that rate was rising dramatically through 2019. High school alcohol use, while declining for more than two decades,...

Smoking during pregnancy can cause long-term problems for babies; stop smoking now

By Maridith Yahl KyForward reporter Smoking during pregnancy affects how the baby takes in oxygen, how the baby develops and has negative effects which can present from birth into adulthood. “When a mother smokes while pregnant, the baby is absorbing carbon monoxide, nicotine, and other cancer-causing chemicals in cigarettes,” says Cady Cornell, Tobacco Health Educator, Northern Kentucky Health...

Kentucky Youth Advocates brief addresses impact of maternal incarceration, offers possible solutions

A new Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children brief released Wednesday by Kentucky Youth Advocates, Data Trends and Policy Recommendations to Address the Impact of Maternal Incarceration on Kentucky’s Children, shows that the number of women incarcerated has grown at an alarming pace in Kentucky in recent decades and that women incarcerated are more likely to be a parent. The brief highlights the prevalence...

Kentucky Youth Advocates launch Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children’s 2021 policy, budget priorities

Kentucky Youth Advocates and partners from across the commonwealth have launched the Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children’s 2021 policy and budget priorities. The Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children is a coalition of nonprofit, public and private organizations that stands on three pillars: thriving communities launch strong families, strong families launch successful kids, and successful kids launch...

Digital divide means Ky. kids risk falling behind, especially as pandemic limits in-person instruction

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service More than 1 in 3 students of color in the Commonwealth, and 30% of all students, lacked adequate technology at home before the pandemic, putting them at higher risk of falling behind in school, according to a new KIDS COUNT County Data Book. Alicia Sells, director of innovation and communication at the Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative, works with high school...

2020 Kids Count Data Book looks at impact of ‘dual pandemics’ on Kentucky’s Children and Families

The 2020 Kentucky KIDS COUNT County Data Book examines the impacts of the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racial injustice on children and families with data disaggregated by race/ethnicity. The 30th edition of this publication also features the latest data on 17 measures of child well-being, showing whether outcomes for children across the commonwealth have improved, worsened, or stayed the...

Cameron joins Kosair Charities, Kentucky Youth Advocates to release Child Abuse Prosecution Toolkit

Attorney General Daniel Cameron joined Kentucky Youth Advocates, Kosair Charities, and statewide partners in the Face It Movement to announce the release of a Child Abuse Prosecution Toolkit. Developed by the Attorney General’s Criminal Division, the toolkit equips Kentucky prosecutors with best practices and resources to prosecute child abuse cases. “The Child Abuse Prosecution Toolkit provides...

New reference guide includes tips, information for Kentucky’s thousands of kinship families

A new handbook, created by the Kinship Families Coalition of Kentucky in collaboration with the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Office, features resources for grandparents and relative caregivers navigating Kentucky’s child welfare system and caring for vulnerable children. In A Kentucky Grandparent and Relative Caregiver Handbook, caregivers will find information on the basics of...

Kentucky Youth Advocates, Casey Family Programs discuss COVID-19 impact on child welfare community

Kentucky Youth Advocates, with the support of Casey Family Programs, hosted a forum on Aug. 4 to discuss challenges youth and families connected to the child welfare system are facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, along with solutions to move forward as the commonwealth navigates recovery efforts. While the pandemic is affecting many Kentuckians in different ways, a look into the impact on...

Survey of Kentucky parents highlights families’ concern regarding child care amid COVID-19 pandemic

According to a recent survey of Kentucky parents and families, nearly 30% of respondents are struggling to find child care following the end of mandated closures in June due to the COVID-19 crisis. Additionally, more than half of the 1,570 survey respondents reported being moderately to extremely stressed about sending their child back to child care. The Prichard Committee, along with other national...

Annual health policy forum to focus on preventing youth substance abuse, suicide and risky behaviors

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky’s 20th annual Howard L. Bost Memorial Health Policy Forum will highlight policies and programs that reduce the chances of disease and unhealthy behaviors that often begin in childhood, including substance use, suicide and vaping. The forum, which typically draws 350 policymakers, health advocates and health care providers, will become a monthly webinar series...

Kids Count Data Book highlights areas of continued need as state aims toward recovery from pandemic

Kentucky ranks 37th in the nation in overall child well-being, according to the latest edition of the KIDS COUNT Data Book, released this week by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Kentucky’s measurable, but still inadequate, improvements were due in part to progress across several areas of economic well-being, child health coverage, teen births, and parental employment. Though Kentucky made progress...

Kentucky child care provider survey shows critical need for federal support due to COVID-19 crisis

According to a recent survey of Kentucky’s 2,172 child care providers, 11 to 15 percent of providers who responded may have to close permanently due to the financial impact of the COVID-19 crisis if federal aid is not increased. “This threat could break an already fragile child care ecosystem that lost nearly half of its providers from 2013 to 2019,” said Prichard Committee President and CEO...

Kentucky is one of 19 states that still allows corporal punishment in schools, but that could soon change

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service State lawmakers are considering a bill that would ban spanking in schools. Kentucky is one of 19 states that continue to allow corporal punishment. Glasgow family court judge Mica Wood Pence is responsible for placing children in foster care. She said when children have experienced physical violence in the home, hitting or spanking in school can do serious damage...

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...