Kentucky Senate Backs Bill to Open Certain Juvenile Court Proceedings

Feb 19, 2016

State Sen. Julie Raque Adams (right) sponsored the legislation
Credit LRC Public Information

Some juvenile court proceedings would be open to the public under a bill approved by the Kentucky Senate Friday.  The issue has been before state lawmakers before.

The measure, approved 29-6, establishes pilot programs in three yet to be determine judicial districts.  Louisville Senator Julie Raque Adams says cases related to dependency, neglect, abuse, or determination of parental rights could be made public.

“Opening up that process and making sure that these children are protected by our workers is a very important thing to have happen,” Adams said.

Adams says two reports by the Child Fatality and Near Fatality Review Panel state the measure is an important step to prevent child abuse deaths.

Grayson Representative Robin Webb says she has practiced law in these types of cases for three decades.  Webb voted against the bill.

“To air these proceedings publicly or even determination of parental rights, in particularly a rural jurisdiction, can give that child a scarlet letter that follows them throughout their life,” Webb said.

Following the vote, Adams said judges would make the ultimate decision about whether or not to make public specific juvenile cases. This bill now heads to the House.​