Date Available


Year of Publication


Document Type

Undergraduate Capstone


Graduate School


Public Policy and Administration

First Advisor

Dr. Cory Curl


This brief discusses the challenges facing Kentucky's child welfare system, particularly due to the opioid epidemic, childhood adversity, mental health needs, and limited social services. Kentucky has one of the highest child neglect rates and opioid dispensing rates in the nation. The state's child welfare system includes services like the Child and Family Services Plan, Independent Living Program, and Sobriety Treatment and Recovery Team (START), but it faces issues such as high caseloads and data gaps. It aims to emphasizes the importance of providing the highest standard of care for children in Kentucky and seeking effective recommendations by examining similar situations in other states. Policy alternatives are explored, including expanding the KORE program, improving data collection and analysis, and considering a service sequencing approach. The likely outcomes and trade-offs are discussed, with expanding the KORE program considered the most effective option. The policy brief's primary objective is to address the root causes of the problem and make recommendations to reduce child neglect rates in Kentucky, given the impact on various domains. The goal is to strengthen the state's child welfare program while addressing the opioid crisis.