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House Passes Bill Establishing Child Abuse Review Panel

The Kentucky House has unanimously passed a bill to create an external panel to review certain child death and near death cases.A similar bill failed to pass last year, but Gov. Steve Beshear signed an executive order in the spring to create a temporary panel, which has since been reviewing certain cases.Kentucky Youth Advocates executive director Terry Brooks says the law still needs work but the House has found compromise on improving transparency and confidentiality, which has been at the forefront of the criticism directed at Cabinet for Health and Family Services.Brooks says another challenge will be to find compromise on whether the panel remains outside of the purview of the executive branch.  “Another idea that we have floated, which  we’ve heard good feedback from the Senate on, is if we can’t get a different location, let’s get a public and full disclosure from panel members about potential or real conflicts of interest," he says.Brooks also says there could be financial issues that come up when the bill is discussed further.“We’ve seen lots of variations of fiscal note ideas on what it would cost, so I think you’re looking at, realistically you’re looking at, some level of commitment.”The bill heads to the Senate where Brooks says it will likely be debated and amended. 

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