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Bill to overhaul Kentucky’s child welfare system advances

February 28, 2018

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky House of Representatives has overwhelmingly approved a bill that overhauls the state’s struggling child welfare system.

House Bill 1 would impose timelines on the state and the court system in an effort to shorten the length of time children in state custody are in limbo. It would also direct state officials to automatically begin the process of terminating parental rights for any mother who gives birth to a drug-dependent baby and refuses to enter a drug rehabilitation program.

Kentucky has more than 8,600 children in state custody. Officials say that number has risen sharply in recent years because of the opioid crisis.

The bill now heads to the state Senate. It passed the House 94-1, with Democrat Attica Scott casting the lone “no” vote.

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