FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A panel reviewing child deaths and severe abuse cases has approved its first annual report without including recommendations on how to improve Kentucky's child protection system.
Media reported that the Child Fatality and Near Fatality Review Panel said Monday that it needs more time to review case files before recommending specific changes.
The panel was tasked by the governor with reviewing case files of children who died or nearly died from abuse or neglect and making recommendations to improve the state's child protection system.
Retired Circuit Judge Roger Crittenden, who heads the group, said statutory or regulatory revisions will likely be proposed by 2015.
"We've only been in existence a year," Crittenden said. "The panel members ... I think are just not comfortable with what we have so far."
The panel says it plans to continue exploring areas of concern in 2014 and develop policy recommendations that are evidence-based and that "avoid making quick fixes driven by limited information."
The panel has reviewed 55 cases and said it had "noted disturbing trends and missed opportunities to prevent tragedies to children."
Areas of concern included common risk factors, the need for more public awareness, a lack of mental health services and the workload of social workers.
Department for Community Based Services Commissioner Teresa James, who oversees child protective services in Kentucky and also serves on the panel, said she wants a more in-depth review of the cases with more analysis of what went wrong.
"I think we need to get down in the weeds in some of these cases, deeper than what we are now. And maybe not be so worried about hurting each others feelings," James said.