The Lexington Herald-Leader asked a judge Wednesday to order the state to turn over uncensored copies of documents regarding Kentucky children who have been killed or nearly killed because of abuse and neglect. In a motion filed in Franklin Circuit Court, the Herald-Leader asked Judge Phillip Shepherd to make the Cabinet for Health and Family Services produce unaltered copies of more than 80 internal reviews conducted by state social workers after deaths or near-deaths of children. The newspaper's motion came the same day The (Louisville) Courier-Journal filed a motion in Franklin Circuit Court asking that the cabinet be held in contempt for redacting information from the case files. A hearing in the case is set for next Wednesday.
When a little boy reportedly fell off the deck of a house in Lincoln County in July 2009 and hit his head, his mother and her boyfriend were drunk, according to a report by a state child-protection worker. There was no food in the filthy house, but there were pill bottles, beer cans and needles lying around, and blood on the child's bed. The case points to a troubling reality: When children are abused or neglected in Kentucky, substance abuse often plays a role. A Lexington Herald-Leader review of files released this week on children killed or nearly killed because of abuse or neglect over a two-year period found that more than half mentioned suspected or confirmed substance abuse by parents or caregivers.
State officials have 10 days to produce 90 internal reviews of social workers' files on children who have been killed or nearly killed as a result of abuse and neglect, a judge ordered Wednesday. Attorneys for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services told Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd on Wednesday that they were hiring temporary staff to redact more than 180 case files involving children who died or nearly died of abuse and neglect. Once redacted, those records will be made available, said Christina Heavrin, general counsel for the cabinet, which oversees child protection.
After multiple lawsuits and key lawmakers' repeated calls for more transparency, Gov. Steve Beshear announced Tuesday that he will release state records of children who have been killed or nearly killed as a result of abuse or neglect. The Lexington Herald-Leader and the Louisville Courier-Journal had sued the state over the records of children who died while under supervision of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which oversees child protection. In another case, the Todd County Standard sued the cabinet over the records involving Amy Dye, a 9-year-old girl who was beaten to death in February by her adoptive brother.
An overhaul of the state's Medicaid program is set to go live on Nov. 1, state officials said this week. Earlier this year, the state entered into contracts with three managed care companies and continued a contract with Passport Health Plan to serve more than 560,000 people on the state-federal health plan for the poor, aged and disabled. The move, expected to save $375 million over the next three years, was initiated to keep costs down in the more than $6 billion program.
Tempers flared on the track Sunday during the qualifying stages of a $50,000 go-kart race at Clay City Kart Speedway. The championship race was run at night.
Credit Tim Webb / Lexington Herald-Leader
The fronts of businesses on Ky. 15 in Clay City on Sunday were adorned with signs that read "Welcome Karters." More than 600 go-karters from 41 states descended on this town of less than 1,500 for a chance to win the single largest payout in karting history — $50,000 for first place in a race dubbed "The Insane One."
A lawyer for Kentucky's two largest newspapers told a Franklin Circuit Court judge Wednesday that the state was "thumbing its nose at the law" by withholding records relating to the deaths of abused and neglected children. "They are acting illegally and they are doing it in a brazen fashion," said Jon Fleischaker, a lawyer representing the Lexington Herald-Leader and The Courier-Journal of Louisville.
Bluegrass Oakwood has cut about 200 jobs because of a dip in the number of residents at the Somerset facility for the developmentally disabled. Shannon Ware, CEO of Bluegrass Regional Mental Health and Mental Retardation, said Wednesday that 168 people were laid off, but the total number of positions eliminated was about 200. The remaining positions that were eliminated were open positions. The cuts were across all levels of the organization. The layoffs were announced Friday, and employees were given 30 days notice.