There will be a forum in Frankfort this coming Thursday for public input into improving the performance of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services in protecting our children. It is on 1/17 from 1:30 to 3:30 pm. See Lawreader for details. I wish I could make it but I will be in court in another county.
Here is the first recommendation from the Office of the Inspector General’s report:
1. The cloak of secrecy that currently dominates the proceedings relative to the removal of children and the termination of parental rights is not in the best interest of Kentucky’s children and must be removed as part of any material reform. Allowing the proceedings to be open, with exception only by court order, will provide the most fail-proof form of oversight, in turn, ensuring that the citizens of the Commonwealth believe in the integrity of the process and have full faith in the outcomes which it produces. Accordingly, the Cabinet should work with the Courts and the Legislature to implement such changes.
I agree with this recommendation but there is more involved. The purpose for having freedom of the press is to keep the people informed of what their government is doing. This first recommendation seems to contemplate that the press as well as other advocacy groups will monitor and report on how dependency, neglect, and abuse cases are handled. Opening the courts to scrutiny is only the first step. Getting the public to want to know is the second step. I suspect we will find that this second step will be harder than the first step. Historically, society has preferred to keep some horrific things out of the public eye.