KENTUCKY — The state of Kentucky ranks fifth in the nation, for the number of reported child abuse and neglect cases, according to the latest data from the U.S. Health and Human Services Child Maltreatment Report.

During the 2022 Kentucky General Assembly legislative session, lawmakers in both the House and Senate came together to pass Senate Bill 8, which was a bipartisan bill signed into law by Gov. Andy Beshear to improve the state's child welfare system.

"Kentucky had been kind of dealing with this issue in a very piecemeal approach. It was frustrating because we couldn't move our numbers in the direction that we needed to move our numbers when it came to child abuse and neglect. So what we did during the interim before this session, is we just had a complete holistic approach in looking at how we do child welfare in the state. And then the product was Senate Bill 8 which passed overwhelmingly and with bipartisan support, and what that bill does is it takes a really comprehensive look at how we tackle these issues from a policy perspective," explains primary bill sponsor Sen. Julie Raque Adams (R-Louisville), Senate District 35.

Sen. Adams' legislation expands the opportunity for family preservation services to keep children safe and families together. It also provides additional resources and support for Kentucky's child advocacy centers. Legislators also voted to expand the scope and membership of the Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Prevention Board to now include all forms of child abuse and neglect.

You can watch the full In Focus segment in the player above.