A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

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...

Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky marks significant increase in funding to curb tobacco use in 2017

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky invested more than $361,000 on work to reduce both tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke in 2017. This commitment represented a significant expansion of the Foundation’s annual budget focused on tobacco-use reduction over past years. Even so, the Foundation continued several research projects as well as its support of grantees working on a variety...

Kentucky is first to get Medicaid waiver; Bevin says Kentucky HEALTH is answer, but opposition is strong

Kentucky is the first state to get a Medicaid waiver that would permit the state to require work of service to quality for the insurance. Gov. Matt Bevin announced Friday afternoon that the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) had approved the Commonwealth’s Section 1115 Medicaid waiver known as Kentucky HEALTH — “Helping to Engage and Achieve Long Term Health.” Bevin...

Ky’s children improved on several health measures in last year, but many counties remain far behind

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News More Kentucky children than ever have health insurance, fewer Kentucky teens are getting pregnant, fewer mothers are smoking during pregnancy, and the state has fewer low-birthweight babies – but that’s not the case in every county, according to the annual Kentucky Kids Count report. The report, released Nov. 15 by Kentucky Youth Advocates, is part of...

State officials confident feds will restore funding for Children’s Health Insurance Program before deadline

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News As Congress works to fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program days after the Sept. 30 deadline for reauthorization passed, Kentucky officials are confident their funding will be renewed before the federal money runs out. “Without funding reauthorization on the federal level, we have enough money to maintain CHIP services for about six months,”...

Governing Magazine: Congress doesn’t reauthorize CHIP by deadline; Kentucky to run out of money

By Mattie Quinn Governing Magazine Congress missed the Sept. 30 deadline to reauthorize funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), sending states that rely on that money scrambling to figure out how to pay for it. U.S. Sens. Orrin Hatch and Ron Wyden introduced a bipartisan bill last month that would have extended funding for five years, but it never even got a vote. Health policy...

Floyd County mobile dental until to provide free oral health evaluation, treatment at district schools

In an effort to make sure its students have access to dental treatment, the Floyd County School District has partnered with a regional health-care center that will provide dental services at its schools via a mobile dental unit, Mary Meadows reports for the Floyd County Chronicle. The school board approved the contract with Big Sandy Health Care at its June 26 meeting. Meadows reports that the contract...

New KIDS COUNT data ranks Kentucky 34th in nation in overall child well-being; gains in health, economics

Kentucky ranks 34th in the nation in overall child well-being, according to the 2017 KIDS COUNT Data Book, released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The 2017 Kentucky KIDS COUNT County Data Book, which includes county-level data, will be released in November. “Every year, the Data Book offers us a clear choice,” said Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates. “Do...

Delta Dental Kentucky investing $1 million to establish five regional oral health networks

Following state results published in the Making Smiles Happen: 2016 Oral Health Study of Kentucky’s Youth, Delta Dental of Kentucky is expanding its commitment to oral health across the state. Delta Dental of Kentucky is providing $1 million to launch five regional networks across the Commonwealth based upon a key recommendation from the 2016 study. These networks will engage diverse partners...

Nurses, allies seek mandate for a nurse in every school in effort to improve learning outcomes

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Putting a full-time nurse in every Kentucky school would not only provide health care, but improve education outcomes, say advocates of the idea. “We need a nurse in every school because we need to quit thinking about health and education as separate entities, because they are not,” said Eva Stone, an advanced-practice registered nurse and co-chair...

Commentary: Kentucky has opportunity for best charter school law in U.S., but the details count

By Terry Brooks Special to KyForward The hottest toy of this past Christmas season was Hatchimals — plastic eggs with one of two interactive creatures inside. The lucky recipient nurtures the egg, causing it to hatch; and after hatching, the creature inside learns to talk, walk and play games with the help of the child. Right about now, the egg is hatching. The same is true of charter schools in...

KY Youth Advocates KIDS COUNT data book gives sad snapshot of our kids; Woodford among best

The Kentucky KIDS COUNT 2016 County Data Book provides a snapshot of children by county, including county-level rankings of child well-being based on 16 different indicators. The counties with the highest rankings on child well-being include (in order) Oldham, Boone, Spencer, Woodford, and Ballard Counties. Detailed data are available for every county in Kentucky. Please click here for your county’s...

Commentary: In and out of abuse foster care, she survived, joins First Lady’s Youth Leadership Council

Through a partnership with Kentucky Youth Advocates, Kosair Charities®, and Casey Family Programs, First Lady Glenna Bevin invited youth and young adults from across the state with diverse backgrounds to come together as the First Lady’s Youth Leadership Council (FLYLC) to forge a common ground around three big issues that affect children in Kentucky: child welfare, child abuse and neglect, and...

Study: Kentucky kids have more access to oral health care, but still have poor outcome

By Melissa Patrick and Traci Thomas Kentucky Health News The oral health of Kentucky’s school children is getting worse, even though access to oral health care is better now than it was 15 years ago, says a study by Delta Dental of Kentucky and Kentucky Youth Advocates. The report, “Making Smiles Happen: 2016 Oral Health Study of Kentucky’s Youth,” is the first oral health study...

Report shows Kentucky children benefitting from affordable health care through Medicaid expansion

Children are already reaping the benefits of more Kentucky parents having health insurance due to Medicaid expansion, according to a new special report from Kentucky Youth Advocates. The report, Medicaid Expansion in Kentucky: Benefits to Kids and Families, examines the numerous family and child health benefits that have resulted from more parents having affordable health coverage. “The research...