Terry Brooks

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The executive director of a children’s advocacy group says he believes Senate leadership will give the smoking ban bill a fair hearing. 

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A report just released by the National Women's Law Center ranks Kentucky near the bottom nationally for providing child care assistance to low income families. Child care subsidies were restored earlier this year through action of the general assembly.  Even so, Kentucky Youth Advocates Director Terry Brooks said the Commonwealth still lags behind many other states.

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The director of Kentucky Youth Advocates says the most important challenge facing the state's children is poverty. 

A child's future can be thwarted for years afte enduring several negative family events—a divorce, substance abuse in the home, an incarcerated parent, said Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, citing research.

And Kentucky has among the highest percentages of children who have had three or more of those adverse experiences in their homes, Brooks said.

He's speaking to data released this morning in the report Kids Count: The First Eight Years, from the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Kentucky Youth Advocates.


  Kentucky has improved its overall rating in an annual report measuring the well-being of children around the country. But the number of Kentucky kids living in poverty is at an all-time high.

Terry Brooks is executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates. He says last year was the first time ever the commonwealth had to say more than one in four children are living in poverty. The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s annual Kids Count Data Book shows that rate has slightly increased to 27 percent. But Brooks says if you add up all the indicators including health, economic well-being, education and community, the state is ranked 34th, which is the best rating it’s had over the last decade.


State lawmakers return to Frankfort in two weeks, and the head of Kentucky Youth Advocates says there are a few steps they should take to address lingering issues affecting children. The latest Kids Count report shows that about a quarter of Kentucky's children live in poverty. In western Kentucky Fulton County recorded the highest rate, with 41 percent, and Carlisle County had the lowest rate at 15.8 percent.