Kentucky Coalition For Healthy Children Newsletter

Issue 22 | March 2024

Working collaboratively on policies and practices in and around schools that promote equity and improve the physical, social, and emotional health and well-being of children, youth, and families.
The opinions and viewpoints expressed in this newsletter do not necessarily reflect the positions of all coalition partners.
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KCHC Member Highlights

Advocacy Series | State & Federal Policy Updates | March 4

The ThriveKY coalition and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services will hold their Quarterly Advocacy Update on state and federal policies with an impact on Kentucky families on March 4, 2024, 2:00 to 3:30 ET. Register here.



Webinar | Empowering Communities: Leveraging Opioid Settlement Funds for Impact | March 6, 2024, 12-1pm ET

Join Bloom Kentucky for a webinar featuring remarks from the newly appointed leaders of the KY Opioid Abatement Advisory Commission. This webinar is tailored to raise awareness among community members, local organizations, and stakeholders about the significant opioid settlement funds that are available and the transformative impact they can hold for communities across Kentucky. During this webinar, attendees will: gain an understanding of the Opioid Settlement Funds, learn more about the application process for the Commission, hear about prevention efforts that target early adversity, access information to consider during the application process, and provide feedback about their application experience.

Register here.


Conference | Kentucky Council on Problem Gambling Educational and Awareness Conference | March 7-8, 2024

Location: Owensboro, KY

KYCPG’s 27th Annual Educational and Awareness Conference is a learning opportunity to gain critical knowledge of gambling addiction, prevention, and treatment practices. The theme, Improving Awareness and Treatment of Gambling Disorder reflects the maturing evidence of recognizing, minimizing, and treating problem and addicted gambling. It is open to anyone wishing more information on gambling’s impact on individuals, families, and society. It is particularly relevant to behavioral counselors and prevention specialists confronting or preparing for the rising incidence of addiction. The conference also will feature a breakout presentation on electronic/video gaming addiction. Registration is required.

Register here.

Rally | Hunger Free Kentucky Day at the Capitol | March 13, 2024 | Kentucky State Capitol Building

Feeding Kentucky is hosting Hunger Free Kentucky Day.

Save the Date

Behavior Institute │ The Kentucky Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders

The Kentucky Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders is hosting the KY-CCBD Behavior Institute on July 14-16 and registration is now open. The CCBD is a division of the Council for Exceptional Children’s “Division for Emotional & Behavioral Health” (DEBH). It supports educators, administrators & professionals who work with students with emotional and behavioral differences.

The Institute will take place at the Central Bank Center in Lexington, KY! (Also known as the Convention Center by Rupp Arena). Both individual and group registration options are available.

Register here.

What's New in Children's Health

The Time to Talk Is Now

The Kentucky Student Voice Team (KSVT) released a new report which highlights students’ perspectives on diversity and representation in their classrooms. This student-led organization has been engaged in research, policy, and storytelling since 2012. Through their research area they design, conduct, and analyze original research centered around student experiences and uncovering the impact of the most pressing issues for youth today.

In 2022 they conducted the Race to Learn Survey, receiving 10,725 responses from students across 114 Kentucky counties; 38% of the responses came from students of color. Following up the data on that survey, the Kentucky Student Voice Team conducted 60 peer interviews with students from 8th through 12th grade, which has led to the report Time to Talk: A Qualitative Study of Students’ Experiences with Race, Culture, and Ethnicities in their Classrooms.

Some key findings of the report include that:

  • Kentucky students want to see cultural diversity and racial representation in their curriculum. They also desire to have authentic discussions of and engagement with that content with their peers and teachers.
  • Especially outside of the classroom, racial microaggressions exist in Kentucky schools. Students desire support in being allies with and for their peers of color.
  • Students recognize a racial mismatch between most Kentucky teachers and Kentucky students of color. At the same time, students are hopeful about their school’s ability to create more inclusive educational environments.

From the findings, some of the policy implications included the need to:

Normalize talking about diversity and differences in class to support students’ understanding of themselves and others-historically and today.

Increase support, training, resources, and professional development for teachers and staff on issues of racial and cultural inclusion in the classroom and school. 

Recommendations to Prevent Harm to Children

The External Child Fatality and Near Fatality Review Panel issued its 2023 Annual Report providing a comprehensive review of all child fatalities and near fatalities suspected to be the result of abuse and neglect, as well as recommendations to prevent harm to children.

In this year’s report, of grave concern is that overdose/ingestion cases continue to be one of the most common types of cases reviewed. The majority were unintentional ingestion, and 89% of them occurred in children four years or younger. Opioids (including fentanyl), buprenorphine or methadone, and cannabis or THC containing products were among the top three types of substances ingested.

The report contains comprehensive information, including county by county data. Given that these deaths or near deaths are preventable, the report goes on to issue recommendations for prevention to address the serious issues of physical abuse, youth suicide, and more for the different branches of government. 

Report on the Health of Women and Children

America’s Health Rankings has issued its 2023 Health of Women and Children Report. The report analyzes the latest data on 122 measures from 34 distinct data sources. The report highlights several concerning trends in mortality among women of reproductive age and children, including the rising rates of maternal mortality, drug deaths among women and injury deaths among women and children. The report also highlights the strong disparities by geography and race/ethnicity, with mortality rates, teen births and high health status worst among Black and American Indian/Alaska Native Populations. 

In Your Community

Growing Gardens and Minds

The wellbeing of elementary students in Pulaski County is flowering thanks to a project supported by a Healthy Schools Grant. The focus of the grant was to improve student’s health and academic achievement through nutrition, physical education and activity, management of chronic conditions in schools, and out-of-school time programming.

As part of the grant, Nancy Elementary implemented a farm to table project. Students constructed garden beds, chose their plants, and designed the layout of the chosen vegetables and flowers. The process of planting their own seeds and watching them grow into plants helped to promote a hands-on and sustainable perspective on healthy eating habits. Students participated in the construction and maintained the garden throughout the summer before enjoying their harvest.

“Students learned about nutrition, developed life skills, and increased environmental awareness” noted Sonya Wilds, the district’s grant manager. “Living in a rural community you assume students have been exposed to growing produce, but the vast majority of them had never planted or grown anything. It was truly a new learning experience for them.”

Pulaski Elementary collaborated with Pulaski High School FFA (Future Farmers of America) for their approach to the project. This gave the high school students the opportunity to teach and mentor the younger students on planting and garden upkeep.

Pulaski County was one of nine districts within the state which partnered with the Kentucky Department of Education from 2018-23 in the implementation of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Healthy Schools Cooperative Agreement to develop and implement school health infrastructure, best practices, programming, and policies.

Take Action!

The following are some bills the KCHC is monitoring which are advancing in the 2024 legislative session with an impact on children’s health, in some cases a positive impact, in others a negative one. A link to the bills and articles which review their content are included.

Positive impact:

SB2 – Enhances provisions related to trauma-informed care and suicide education in schools. Also creates the framework for the employment of “Guardians” in schools. Statement from Kentucky Youth Advocates.

SB256 - Establishes the Kentucky Proud School Match Program Fund and directs the Department of Education to reimburse an eligible school district $0.33 for every meal reimbursed by the community eligibility provision at the paid rate.

HB813 - Appropriates General Fund moneys to the Department for Public Health to support the Smoking Cessation Program. SB335 on the Senate side appropriates funds for the Smoking and Vaping Cessation Program.

HB275 - Among other things, prohibits schools from entering into nondisclosure agreements regarding misconduct involving minors or students; requires investigation of abusive conduct allegations and establishes stringent employment standards and training related to sexual misconduct. Statement from Kentucky Youth Advocates.

Negative impact:

HB367 - Reduces the gross income limit for SNAP; eliminates the state’s ability to waive the asset limit; prohibits the state from waiving work reporting requirements in parts of the state with high unemployment or during economic downturns; impacts number of children receiving free meals in schools. Analysis from the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy.

HB747 - Adds to educational neglect by a parent/caregiver to include "failure to properly supervise, instruct, train, or control" the child and it being a substantial contributing factor to a child's violation of the school board's code of acceptable behavior and discipline.

HB255. Repeals the child labor regulation that establishes standards for employment of minors and eliminates the state statute that allows the Commissioner of Workplace Standards to promulgate future protections for children in the workforce they may deem necessary. Analysis from the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy.

SB6HB9. HB304. SB93. SB168. HB 224. HB191.These are bills related to education, both PK-12 and higher ed, designed to limit, and in some cases, ban supports, activities, curriculum, approaches, funding, and more which help and support children and youth from discriminated or marginalized communities. They limit any diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging efforts, trauma-informed care in schools, the adequate exercise of professional educators and mental health providers’ professions, adequate data collection from students, freedom of expression and more. Kentucky Student Voice Team Statement on SB93. Statement by various organizations in A Path Forward on SB93, SB6, HB9, HB191, HB224, and HB304.

HB141- Makes water fluoridation programs optional.

To take action to support or oppose these bills:

  • Call the Legislative Message Line at 1-800-372-7181. The LRC staff operators will look up your representatives for you to leave a message (green slip).
  • Visit the Legislature’s web site for information on the bills, legislators, committee members, calendar of activities, and more: KY Legislature. This way you can also email your representatives.
  • Watch the committee meetings via KET Legislative Coverage.
  • Spread the word and share the information through your networks and on whatever platforms you use.
In Case You Missed It

WBKO | Kentucky sees high rates of child maltreatment, local resources are available

Kentucky Lantern | We can’t feed them all: House Bill 367 would overwhelm food banks, hurt hungry Kentuckians

Northern Kentucky Tribune | KY 49th in oral health; fluoride in water proven to help teeth, but group of legislators tout law to ban it

Cook With Us!

Follow along as we make healthy, kid-friendly recipes with a focus on seasonal ingredients.

Embrace the flavors of the season with this Spring Vegetable Sauté.

Contact Us!

Do you have an upcoming event or exciting news to celebrate with our coalition? Please email Alexandra Kerley at [email protected] to be featured in an upcoming KCHC Newsletter!

Amalia Mendoza | KCHC Newsletter | 502-326-2583
Become a Member
Current KCHC Steering Committee Member Organizations:

Kentucky Department for Public Health

Kentucky Family Thrive

Kentucky Department of Education

Kentucky Health Departments Association

Kentucky Nurses Association

Kentucky Primary Care Association

Kentucky Public Health Association

Kentucky Psychological Association 

Kentucky Voices for Health

Kentucky Youth Advocates

KY Parent Teacher Association – 16th District

Pritchard Committee for Academic Excellence

Seven Counties Services

Spalding University

St. Elizabeth Healthcare

Trans Parent Lex

United Healthcare

University of Kentucky College of Health Sciences

University of Louisville School of Public Health & Information Studies