Gov. Steve Beshear Creates Kentucky Child-Abuse Panel - Louisville Metro Democratic Party

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Gov. Steve Beshear Creates Kentucky Child-Abuse Panel

Gov. Steve Beshear Creates Kentucky Child-Abuse Panel

Kentucky will create an independent panel of experts to review cases of children who have been killed or severely injured as a result of abuse and neglect, Gov. Steve Beshear announced Monday.

The decision came as the Cabinet for Health and Family Services released thousands of pages of documents Monday that detail the state's involvement with dozens of children who were killed or nearly killed as a result of abuse and neglect. Still, the cabinet continues to withhold some case files and has redacted large portions of others.

It filed an appeal Monday with the Kentucky Supreme Court after a crucial legal decision last week in a lengthy court battle between the state and Kentucky's two largest newspapers, the Lexington Herald-Leader and The Courier-Journal of Louisville. The newspapers sued the state for access to social worker case files on children who were killed or critically injured as a result of abuse and neglect in 2009 and 2010.

Beshear signed an executive order Monday to create the external review panel. The 17-member panel, which will be based in the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, will examine child deaths to determine whether state child-protection workers could have done more to protect a child and to determine causes of death.

"When a child dies or is critically injured because of abuse or neglect, we must carefully review the practices of all government entities involved to make sure that our system performed as it was supposed to — and if not, that review allows us to take disciplinary action," Beshear said Monday in a news release.

The group will meet quarterly and will prepare an annual report that identifies issues contributing to child deaths and injuries. The panel will include law enforcement, prosecutors and medical experts. The makeup of the panel will be determined by outside groups and Attorney General Jack Conway.

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