June 21, 2024

Kentucky’s Legislation for a Mental Health Juvenile Detention Facility on Track to Become Law

1 min read
Kentucky legislature moves forward with plans for mental health juvenile detention facility

A bill to establish a special mental health juvenile detention facility for high acuity youth has been advanced by a Kentucky House committee. Senator Danny Carroll, the sponsor, emphasized the critical nature of this bill, which has already passed the Senate and is now awaiting full House consideration.

As the 60-day legislative session nears its end on Wednesday, time is running out for the bill to become law. The legislature must pass bills by Friday in order to preserve their right to override a potential veto by Gov. Andy Beshear. Under Carroll’s bill, Kentucky would begin operating two female detention centers by Feb. 1, 2026 – one in Central Kentucky and one in the western part of the state. A third facility could be built if the first two reach capacity.

In addition to the female detention centers, Kentucky would also build a 16-bed acute mental health facility designed to house juveniles in need of specialized treatment for aggression, violence, or property destruction. The Department of Juvenile Justice would own and staff the facility, with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services partnering to provide appropriate mental health treatment.

While the General Assembly’s two-year budget is not yet final, funding for each of the female-only facilities and the mental health facility has been included in the Senate budget. Senator Carroll had requested more funding for the mental health facility, but the final budget allocation remains uncertain. Carroll stressed

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