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Judge Speeds Process for Releasing Child Abuse Records

A judge has ordered the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to continue releasing complete child abuse records in the next 90 days; but the Cabinet is likely to continue redacting information in those records pending an appeals court ruling.Earlier this year, Judge Phillip Shepherd made a final order for the Cabinet to release thousands of pages of child abuse records. Because it was a final order, the Cabinet appealed the decision. Shepherd has now changed his ruling to keep the matter in his court, and to keep the records moving.“ I think that’s clearly within his right to do," said  attorney Jon Fleischaker who represents two newspapers, including the Courier-Journal, in the lawsuit.Fleischaker said the Appeals Court has yet to rule on the Cabinet’s motion, but says he’d like to see the matter officially brought back to Shepherd’s court until his orders are carried out.“Probably what is likely is they [appeals court]will dismiss the emergency motion of the cabinet for an immediate release because that no longer exists. That part of the order no longer exists that they appealed," said Fleischaker.In the meantime, the Cabinet says it will continue to release documents while reviewing Shepherd’s new order.