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Health and Family Services Cabinet
Public can offer suggestions to child welfare system at forum; Birth parents whose children have been in state custody invited

Press Release Date:  Thursday, January 11, 2007  
Contact Information:  Anya Armes Weber, (502) 564-6180 or Vikki Franklin, (502) 564-7042  

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 11, 2007) – Parents with suggestions to improve the state’s child protection services will have the opportunity to voice their ideas at a public forum next week in Frankfort.

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) is hosting the forum from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 17, in room 169 of the Capitol Annex.

The forum is an extension of the cabinet’s blue ribbon panel on adoption.

Since August, that group has reviewed the process and current practices that lead to the termination of parental rights and adoption of children in the state’s child welfare system.

Several parents have testified before the group to give suggestions for improving the state’s child welfare system.

CHFS Secretary Mark D. Birdwhistell, who chairs the panel, said he wanted to give other parents the opportunity to give their opinions as well.

“We’ve heard from legislators, advocates, judges and several parents,” Birdwhistell said. “It is important that we make sure parents who haven’t been involved with the panel have their chance to speak. We want to take all views into consideration before we make final recommendations in our proposed legislation.”

Parents wishing to speak must register and will speak in order of sign-up. Parents may not address case-specific details, because they are considered confidential by law. Speakers must adhere to a five-minute limit.

A court reporter will transcribe the forum comments. All testimony is for the record and will not be addressed or debated.

The forum is not an official panel meeting, but panel members will receive a transcript of the testimony. CHFS staff, including staff from the Office of the Ombudsman which helps Kentuckians served by the cabinet with their questions, will be present, but cannot address specific concerns during the forum.

If you have questions about the parent forum, call Marcia James at (502) 564-7042.

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Last Updated 1/11/2007