Pamela Addington, a retired Hardin County Family Court Judge, spoke with members of the Radcliff Small Business Alliance on Tuesday, giving them expert insight into the shortcomings of the system in Hardin County and Kentucky.
While she acknowledged that child abuse and neglect might not be the most anticipated talking points for a room full of entrepreneurs, Addington said it likely affects them all in some way. of another.
“If you’re employees, chances are a certain percentage of your employees have had issues with family court,” she said.
Addington said around 14% of children nationwide suffer from some type of abuse or neglect.
In 2020, Hardin County saw 995 referrals to child protective services, and the county saw 783 referrals the following year. Addington said while he’s optimistic to see this as a decline, it probably isn’t. She said that because of the pandemic, educational and medical journalists who alert the state to cases of child abuse have fewer opportunities.
When the children weren’t in school, teachers didn’t see them at all, and once they returned, the masks made it harder to detect some injuries, Addington said. She also said fewer doctor visits during the pandemic were limiting referrals.
“That doesn’t mean the children weren’t abused anymore,” she said. “We’d like to think, maybe, that’s the case. But realistically, I don’t believe that happened.
She said the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services is also experiencing high turnover rates among workers. At some point, a cabinetmaker who had been in the job for two years would be considered a “starter.” These days, Addington said, they are the most experienced. Fewer staff means longer response times and ultimately more struggles for the victims of abuse – the children. Addington said firm staff would have to care for the children themselves at times if they could not find a suitable short-term placement for them.
“Unfortunately, often these children have to spend the night in the office,” she said.
The next RSBA meeting is scheduled for noon May 17 at the Colvin Community Center.