Connie Riddell runs the Sunshine Center. You might call it a safe place, or a “visitation center” where non-custodial parents can meet with their children.
“I cannot imagine a social worker going alone to any home where a child has been removed because the child has been removed for a reason,” says Riddell.
And it's that reason that Kentucky lawmakers have the Boni Bill to consider. It’s named after Boni Frederick who was murdered last year while she was working a home visit between a child and its non-custodial parent.
If made law, millions would be spent to establish safe places like The Sunshine Center where social workers can supervise meetings between parents and kids.
The bill creates 15 visitation centers and more than $ 4 million to pay for them. The bill sailed through the House. The vote was 98 to 0.
“This is the first real legislation we've offered for social workers in my career here,” said Rep. Tom Burch, D-Lousiville.
“It's to hire 76 additional social workers; 27 aides and support staff,” says Rep. Jimmie Lee, D-Elizabethtown.
The bill also creates a task force that will study further changes to be presented to the General Assembly next year.
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