March 25, 2008
Kentucky House of Representatives unanimously passes HB666 supporting establishment of Office on Racial Disproportionality
First- I want to say thank you on behalf of all of the children in Kentucky for your efforts to keep the momentum going to pass House Bill 666.
On March 24th, the Kentucky House of Representatives, in a vote of 95 - 0, passed House Bill 666 which proposes the establishment of the Office on Racial Disproportionality within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. I want to say thank you to all of you who have contacted your state representatives to help pass Bill 666. The duties of the office would include training, targeted recruitment and employment efforts, data collection, and strategic planning; require the department and its contractors to collect an analyze data by race, evaluate and implement a plan to address disproportionality; require an annual report to the Governor, Interim Joint Committee on Health and Welfare, and the public each year. We have the last hurdle. Yes we can. The bill has now gone to the Senate where it will be voted on soon. Please contact your legislators immediately in support of House Bill 666 and let your voice be heard on behalf of Kentucky's children! You can reach every legislator with 1 email if you email to legislators2008.
Please feel at liberty to adopt any part of this email to communicate with your legislator.
Please help our children.
- Kentucky's current foster care population is over 7200 children.
- Kentucky spends 3 million dollars a year more to care for African American children than it does to care for Caucasian children.
- 21% of the children in foster care are African American, although African Americans only comprise 7% percent of the general Kentucky population.
- The Race, Community and Child Welfare (RCCW) Initiative works with all community members, black and white, to help keep children safe and to safely prevent the need for foster care.
- HB666 creates an Office for Racial Disproportionality in the Cabinet for Health & Family Services to provide leadership and continuity to the important RCCW work.
- KY can obtain $3 Million dollars from Casey Family Programs Foundation of Seattle, WA thereby significantly decreasing the amount of money the state needs to reduce the cost to the state
Texas has been doing this work for about 7 years and has had tremendous success in safely reducing the number of children in foster care and decreasing the amount spent for care of foster children. In just 8 months in 2007 Texas safely decreased its foster care population by 2000 and increased services to children in their homes at a much lesser cost to the system.
Unless KY begins to address preventive services for families and targets racial disproportionality in 11 KY counties, the cost to the KY taxpayer will continue to escalate. The foster case system is a feeder system for the juvenile justice system which is a feeder system for the prison system.
The following link shows the voting record for the bill in the House: http://www.lrc.ky.gov/record/08RS/HB666/vote_history.pdf