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Health and Family Services Cabinet
Fayette County Workshop to Focus on Race in Child Welfare System; Forum is Wednesday evening on UK campus

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, June 19, 2007  
Contact Information:  Anya Armes Weber, (502) 564-6180 or Vikki Franklin, (502) 564-7042  


FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 19, 2007) – Residents of the Lexington area are invited to a forum this week on how race impacts the child welfare system.

The “Race, Community and Child Welfare Summit: Addressing the Crisis in Fayette County” will be from 4 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 20, at the Worsham Theater in the University of Kentucky Student Center in Lexington. The Student Center is at 404 S. Limestone St.

The public is invited. Leaders in the judicial, law enforcement, health, media, faith-based organizations and social work fields are particularly encouraged to attend.

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, the state agency responsible for child welfare services, is cosponsoring the event with LexLinc and UK’s Office of Community Engagement.

Speakers include Mark A. Washington, commissioner of the CHFS’ Department for Community Based Services (DCBS); Jackie Stamps, DCBS’ deputy commissioner; other CHFS leaders; and Larry Johnson and Terry Stivers of the Lexington Fayette Urban County Urban Government’s Partners for Youth. Michelle Beverly from Fayette County Public Schools and representatives from LexLinc and UK will also speak.

“We are concerned about the disproportionate number of African-American children in the child welfare system,” Washington said. “This is a complex issue that involves the entire community. We are already taking many positive steps to work with community partners and educate staff to reflect upon biases and assumptions about the care of our children. Forums like this are part of that effort.”

Fayette is one of 11 counties targeted in a comprehensive initiative on racial disproportionality in the child welfare system that includes the community, its people and systems that report abuse and neglect to child protective services and those that respond and provide services.

The project targets 11 counties where African-American children are represented in state foster care at more than one and a half times the census rate.

States such as Texas and Michigan have embarked on similar initiatives.

For more information about race in the child welfare system, log on to http://www.jointheconversation.net/.

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Last Updated 6/19/2007
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