Beshear Creates Child Abuse Panel to Investigate Child Deaths and Near Deaths

Jul 17, 2012

A new panel created by Governor Steve Beshear will review child death and near-death cases in Kentucky. Beshear’s executive order is being called a step in the right direction.

State Representative Tom Burch supported legislation this year that would have created a similar panel. That measure died in the Senate. Now, with slight modifications, Beshear’s executive order will task 17 political and non-political panel members with reporting quarterly findings of child death and near death cases. Burch says a similar panel was formed years ago, but the data was never used to improve the child welfare system.

“I look at this new panel as a means of opening up, maybe shed a little light inside these child investigations.”

The executive order gives Attorney General Jack Conway oversight of the panel, and he will now be responsible for appointing several members. These include pediatricians, a counselor and other social service representatives. The panel will report findings to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, the State Supreme Court and the General Assembly.