Kentucky School Districts Ban Use of Corporal Punishment in Schools

Following an administrative regulation that required school districts to create a policy on the use of corporal punishment in schools, and advocacy efforts by Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky and partners, every school district in Kentucky has now prohibited the use of corporal punishment. The administrative regulation requiring districts to formalize rules around corporal punishment went into effect on Aug. 30.

“Corporal punishment is both ineffective and a violation of a child’s human rights,” said Myranda James, program coordinator at the U.S. Alliance to End the Hitting of Children. “It is consistently linked to increased behavioral problems, increased aggression and defiance, and lower moral internalization. It is also linked to an increased risk of mental illness in adolescence, drug and alcohol abuse, and a greater likelihood of domestic violence into adulthood. It has no place in schools.”

The decision by Kentucky school districts is in line with the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation that corporal punishment settings be abolished in all school settings in all states and replaced by alternative forms of student behavior management. Corporal punishment remains legal in many public and private schools in the United States and is disproportionately used among Black students and children with disabilities, according to the AAP. Additionally, national data show that among students who received physical punishment at school, 16.5% were served under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; making students with disabilities overrepresented among students who are physically punished at school.

“The decision by every school district across all 120 counties to formally prohibit corporal punishment in schools is a win for students and the commonwealth,” said Alex Young, a Kentucky native and student at the University of Notre Dame who advocates for ending corporal punishment in schools. “For seven years, we have worked tirelessly on advocacy efforts at the state and local levels to ban paddling. And from here on, students in the commonwealth will be safer, no longer having to attend school in fear of being hit by trusted adults. I am grateful that school boards and district leaders across Kentucky are in agreement that the archaic and inappropriate practice of corporal punishment has no place in our schools. Kentucky children deserve to receive quality education in a safe environment, and today’s announcement is a monumental step in the right direction.”

The Kentucky Department of Education’s 2022-2023 School Report Card, released on Tuesday, showed there were five incidents of corporal punishment in schools last year. All five incidents were in Pike County and involved white male students.

“Ending corporal punishment in schools is an issue we have been strong advocates for going back many years,” said Prevent Child Abuse Director Jill Seyfred. “It is encouraging that every Kentucky school will now be free of this harmful practice and will provide healthier, safer environments for all children. This is wonderful news for the future of the commonwealth.”

Building Blocks

The Building Blocks of Prevention

Utilizing the Building Blocks of Prevention all year long is a key way to prevent abuse and neglect of Kentucky’s children, ensuring that all children experience happy and healthy childhoods. Thanks to sponsorship from The Ridge, we are promoting our Building Blocks of Prevention as a tool for anyone to use, not just during Child Abuse Prevention Month, but every day! Read more about each Building Block in the following pages, and use the blocks to build a healthier Commonwealth for children and families by downloading the guide here.

New Program Aims to Educate the Public, Providers on Link Between Opioid Crisis and Child Abuse

The Kentucky Opioid Abatement Advisory Commission announced a $243,050 grant to Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky to prevent child maltreatment in homes with caregivers experiencing opioid use disorder. The grant was funded from the over $842 million awarded to Kentucky from settlements with pharmaceutical and other companies in 2022 for their role in exacerbating the deadly opioid crisis.

Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky, or PCAK, is the state’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing child abuse and neglect before it ever occurs. The grant will fund a Child Maltreatment & Opioid Use Disorder Cohort, which will determine gaps in addressing the connections between opioid misuse and child maltreatment prevention. The cohort will be selected based on experience in the field of prevention, family engagement, recovery and lived expertise.

“The link between opioid use disorder and child abuse is an ever-present concern in the commonwealth,” said PCAK Executive Director Jill Seyfred. “PCAK is in a unique position to collaborate with our 272-member statewide partners to help service providers and the public better understand how opioid misuse among parents or caregivers impacts children and improve supports for families currently experiencing the effects of the opioid crisis.”

Substance use among caregivers in the home increases the likelihood of child maltreatment and is a risk factor for child abuse, neglect, near-fatalities and fatalities. In 2021, substance misuse was documented as a risk factor in 64% of Kentucky’s reports of child maltreatment with a finding of substantiated or services needed.

While the state has multiple resources and tools to assist those already experiencing opioid use disorder, there are not specific tools focused on both the prevention of opioid misuse and child abuse for the public, service providers and the press, said Seyfred.

As part of this work, PCAK will offer an opioid use disorder track at their 2024 Kids Are Worth It! Conference, the state’s largest child abuse and neglect prevention educational event. The opioid use disorder track will allow national experts in the field of substance misuse prevention to speak to statewide child welfare professionals, who will take what they learn back to their communities.

To increase public awareness around opioid misuse and child abuse, the grant will also support a virtual press room housed on PCAK’s website, giving the media access to footage, tools, stories and more to disseminate to their audience statewide.

All aspects of the program will be evaluated by the University of Louisville’s Center for Family & Community Well-Being.

The Kentucky Opioid Abatement Advisory Commission was created in 2021 by House Bill 427. It comprises nine voting and two non-voting members and includes stakeholders from the prevention and treatment community, law enforcement and victims of the opioid crisis. The Commission’s purpose is to distribute Kentucky’s funds from settlements reached with opioid companies resulting from 4,000 claims from state and local governments across the country. PCAK was one of 24 organizations that received grants on Thursday.

“These 24 organizations will join us in keeping our promise to this state that we will be accessible, transparent and accountable for the results we will deliver in order to save the next generation that is growing up in the midst of this travesty,” said W. Bryan Hubbard, executive director of the Kentucky Opioid Abatement Advisory Commission.

New resources help protect kids from online threats

Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky, in conjunction with the Kentucky State Police, released new resources to help parents, caregivers and professionals keep kids safe on the internet. June is National Internet Safety Month, dedicated to increasing Americans’ understanding of cyberthreats and empowering them to be safer and more secure online.

The three new tipsheets cover internet safety, cyberbullying and gaming safety. The tipsheets are available free of charge on Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky’s website and will be distributed statewide to organizations serving families and children.

“As the nation recognizes June as National Internet Safety Month, the Kentucky State Police Electronic Crime Branch joins Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky in notifying parents about the risks involved with social media, online gaming and other internet use by distributing strategies to protect their kids from harm and exploitation,” said Lt. Mike Bowling, commander, Electronic Crime Branch Kentucky State Police. “Unfortunately, the Electronic Crime Branch has seen an 82% increase nationally (2021-2022) in the number of online enticement complaints, which is mainly due to the alarming spike in reports involving financial sextortion. KSP has received 14,491 total CyberTips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for Kentucky, compared to 4,989 in 2021. Cybercrimes are on the rise which is why KSP has developed these guidelines to help Kentucky parents keep their kids protected from those who wish to do harm to our most vulnerable population. KSP remains committed to doing everything necessary to protect our children and reduce electronic crimes. To achieve this mission, KSP calls upon all Kentuckians to contact law enforcement immediately if illegal activity is suspected or you are notified of harm to our children.”

Around 95% of teens have access to a smartphone, computer, tablet, gaming technology or other electronic device, making them a common and easily accessible tool for cyberbullying and exploitation.

Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky has been advocating for internet safety awareness and education for more than 15 years. This work includes a free online training, Electronic Crimes Against Children: How to Educate, Monitor, and Communicate Internet Safety, that provides insight into how perpetrators groom children online and what parents and caregivers can do to keep kids safe.

“Technology evolves so quickly, it is difficult for any caregiver to keep up with the latest potential threats or pitfalls facing kids online,” said PCAK Executive Director Jill Seyfred. “That’s why we work closely with the experts in the Electronic Crime Branch Kentucky State Police to ensure parents, school professionals and other caregivers know how to protect children and can effectively teach kids to protect themselves as well. We are proud to be at the forefront of this important work.”

Announcing our 2023 Kids Are Worth It! Conference Video Competition Finalists

Thank you to our Partners who participated in our Partner in Prevention Video Contest for our annual Kids Are Worth It Conference!  Watch the videos submitted by The Nest and the Kentucky State Police Victim Advocacy and Support Services and vote for your favorite by liking, commenting, or sharing their video.  The winner of our contest will be announced after May 15, and they will receive a free registration to #KAWI2023!


Kentucky Nonprofits Celebrate $75 Million Investment at State Capitol

Kentucky Nonprofit Network, the state association of nonprofits, returned to the state Capitol on March 9 after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic to celebrate Nonprofit Day at the
Capitol and more specifically, celebrate the impact of a $75 million investment of State Fiscal Recovery Funds from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 in relief grants for eligible nonprofit organizations.
Lt. Governor Jacqueline Coleman, Senate President Pro Tempore David Givens, and Minority Caucus Chair Representative Cherylynn Stevenson were on hand for a rally in the Rotunda announcing the impact of the funding.

KY Nonprofit Network day at The Capitol, Wednesday March 8, 2023 in Frankfort, Ky. Photo by Shelly Dawn Fryman Mahan Multimedia
KY Nonprofit Network day at The Capitol, Wednesday March 8, 2023 in Frankfort, Ky. Photo by Shelly Dawn Fryman Mahan Multimedia
KY Nonprofit Network day at The Capitol, Wednesday March 8, 2023 in Frankfort, Ky. Photo by Shelly Dawn Fryman Mahan Multimedia

Read more about this historic investment in Kentucky’s nonprofit sector here.

We’re Hiring- Join our team in the Manager of Resource Development role!

Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky is hiring a Manager of Resource Development! We are seeking a passionate individual to move our mission forward by organizing special events, securing sponsorships, expanding our funding base, and developing sustainable relationships with supporters. This is a full-time salaried position with benefits that include health insurance, dental, a 401 (k) plan and generous holiday, vacation and sick leave.

Click the links below for more information on the position and how to apply.
Hiring Notice
Apply via Email
Apply via the Kentucky Nonprofit Network
Apply via LinkedIn
Contact Janna Estep Jordan with questions.

A Message from Dr. Merrick about Child Poverty Rates, Join Us at our 50th Anniversary Celebration and More!

A Message from Dr. Melissa Merrick 

There has been a lot of discussion over the past couple of weeks on new child poverty data that show drastic and steady declines. In a New York Times piece citing the US Census Bureau and the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University, the publication stated:

A comprehensive new analysis shows that child poverty has fallen 59 percent since 1993, with need receding on nearly every front. Child poverty has fallen in every state, and it has fallen by about the same degree among children who are white, Black, Hispanic and Asian, living with one parent or two, and in native or immigrant households. 

This is undoubtably good news. Reports like this provide much-needed hope and optimism that we can be successful in combatting childhood poverty, if we stay focused on the supports and mechanisms that have contributed to the decline. And more than 50 years after the war on poverty was declared, it’s reassuring to be seeing such results.

Right now, Congress has an opportunity to help American families create greater economic mobility by passing the Jackie Walorski Maternal and Child Home Visiting Reauthorization Act of 2022.

This newly introduced bill, a tribute to the late home visiting advocate, Representative Jackie Walorski, reauthorizes the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV) for five years, increases the annual funding level to $800 million by 2027 and provides increased investment in home visiting in every state and territory.

We challenge Congress to not miss this opportunity to help more children and families in need.

Read the full statement here.

MIECHV Reauthorization Takes Big Step Forward!

We are excited to share that this past week the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee unanimously voted to advance the Jackie Walorski Maternal and Child Home Visiting Reauthorization Act of 2022. This success is due to the advocacy efforts of many local, state, and national organizations throughout this past year! Thank you! Now we need to keep the momentum going and see this bill across the finish line. Please continue to contact your Members of Congress and ask them to support this legislation and make MIECHV reauthorization a priority.

Celebrating 50 Years of Progress

Join us for a special evening celebrating 50 years of supporting children and families. Enjoy food, music, a silent auction, and most importantly, learn about how we are preventing child abuse and neglect – and how you can get involved.

National Diaper Awareness Week

One in three U.S. families experience diaper need, and babies without clean diapers are exposed to more potential health risks & less likely to be accepted to daycares, leaving parents unable to attend work. During this week’s National Diaper Awareness Week, we encourage you to support the National Diaper Bank Network.

PCA America 2022 Election Guide

The 2022 midterm elections will be held Tuesday, November 8. Elections present an opportunity to promote child abuse and neglect prevention policies and strategies and to make investments to support these vital initiatives.During this midterm election year, control of both chambers of Congress and dozens of governorships and state offices will be decided. These include all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 seats in the Senate. Thirty-nine state and territorial gubernatorial and numerous other state and local elections will also be contested. This will be the first election affected by the redistricting that will follow the 2020 census.  By voting, organizing in our communities, and having conversations with loved ones, we can come together to speak out in favor of the country we want to live in. Let us continue supporting fair policies and programs that enable every child, family, and community to thrive today, tomorrow, and for generations to come.

You can find the Election guide here.

Mini-Grant Opportunity! Building Positive Fatherhood Engagement through Community Support

Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky (PCAK), in partnership with The Cralle Foundation, Inc., will award eight agencies or organizations funds (up to $500) to conduct an event focused on promoting positive father engagement. These events should provide resources/activities directly to dads and their children. Applicants may choose to propose in person or virtual events. Organizations serving communities within the Cralle Foundation service area will be considered for funding.  The Cralle Foundation service area includes: Bullitt, Hardin, Henry, Jefferson, Oldham, Shelby, Spencer, and Trimble.

Applications are due by October 12, 2022 at 5:00 PM EST.

Email Amanda Royer with questions!

Submit your application here!   

PCAK is hiring! Join our team in the Resource Development Coordinator role!

Use your skills to move a state-wide child abuse prevention agency’s mission forward. We need your support in organizing special events, securing sponsorships, expanding our funding base, and developing sustainable relationships with our supporters. If you feel comfortable approaching people you don’t know, like to forge new paths, like to speak in public, and love Excel, this may be the job for you.

If you understand the importance of securing funds, goods, and services for a non-profit organization, consider joining our team! Networking and meeting new people is a big part of this job, so you will have the opportunity to have every day be different. Use your time and talents to support all facets of our fundraising including special events, securing sponsorships, managing donor relations, networking with diverse groups, associations and more.

Job Posting
Hiring Notice 
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