Beshear says state should change how it releases child neglect and abuse records

11/29/2011 03:49 PM

FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear said Tuesday he wants legislators at least to change the state law to require regular disclosure of reports of abuse and death of children who are under the state’s supervision.

Beshear also said policy makers need to have a wider discussion about what other reforms are needed.

This comes in the wake of the death of a 9-year-old girl, in which the state health cabinet failed to act on warnings by school officials about potential abuse, according reporting by the Courier-Journal’s Debbie Yetter.

The Todd County Standard and the Courier-Journal have extensively reported on the case of Amy Dye, a foster child who was beaten to death by her 17-year-old adoptive brother.

After courts forced Beshear’s cabinet to release records in Dye’s case, Beshear announced today he would comply with the release.

In addition, Beshear said he will push legislation this upcoming session to change Kentucky from a “permissive reporting” state, where it is up to state government to release records, to a “mandatory” records release state.

Beshear also said he plans to push again for an independent panel to review cases of child abuse and neglect, a measure that hasn’t passed in the General Assembly yet.

In addition to records in Dye’s and similar child fatality cases being released, Beshear said a required annual report on child fatalities by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services would be released this week.

State law requires an annual report on child deaths to be released each Sept. 1. This is the second year in a row it has been late.

-Reporting and video production by Kenny Colston


Subscribe to email updates.

Subscribe and get the latest political intelligence delivered to your inbox.