FRANKFORT -- A report by two leading child advocacy groups on Thursday gave Kentucky a failing grade in protecting the legal rights of abused kids.
Kentucky was one of eight states to earn a D and one of 15 to earn a D or an F. The state's score was due, in part, to lack of a requirement that attorneys be trained before they are appointed to represent children in court and for failure to require that representation continue through appeals.
The report, "A Child's Right to Counsel," showed that some states had improved since a similar 2007 report. Kentucky was not one of them.
Since that report, 33 percent of states strengthened laws guaranteeing a child's right to legal representation. In the 2009 report, 11 states earned an A or an A+.
The report was written by First Star, a non-profit child advocacy group in Washington, D.C., and the Children's Advocacy Institute of the University of San Diego School of Law.
Christina Riehl, a staff attorney for the Children's Advocacy Institute, said that in spite of budget problems, "states of all different sizes have done well. Every child can be represented by a capable attorney."
Kentucky's low grade came as no surprise to child advocates who for decades have pushed for changes.
To read the complete article, visit www.kentucky.com.