COVID-19 a ‘Natural Disaster’ for Child Welfare

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — COVID-19 struck Kentucky’s child welfare system like “a natural disaster,” according to Michelle Sanborn, president of Children’s Alliance of Kentucky, comparing the impact to a flood or tornado.

Now the state has to decide how to rebuild a better system as it navigates the ongoing coronavirus crisis, Sanborn said, speaking during a 90-minute online discussion Tuesday that included some of the state’s top child welfare officials and advocates.

“The first thing is response and rescue,” Sanborn said during the event sponsored by Kentucky Youth Advocates. “Then you look at recovery and rebuild. You don’t build a house in the same floodplain.”

Kentucky’s top two human service officials said COVID-19 has brought the state a rare opportunity to make overdue changes to a system that has failed too many children and families in the past.

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