A bill that is expected to be signed by Governor Matt Bevin will open some Kentucky courts to family and juvenile proceedings.
The House and Senate approved legislation this session that would allow the public access to family court in cases involving child abuse, neglect, or dependency.
Kentucky Youth Advocates Director Terry Brooks has been pushing for more transparency for several years.
"There have been many tragedies that have beset the commonwealth around child welfare where abuse and neglect happen, and fatalities result," Brooks told WKU Public Radio. "There's always been, whether it's from the press, advocates, or the legal community, a certain doubt as to what really goes on or the inside scoop on the child welfare system."
The measure would allow a certain number of counties to open their courts to the public under a pilot project.
Supporters believe it will hold judges, lawyers, and social workers more accountable. However, public defenders don’t support access to cases in which juvenile are charged with crimes. They argue it would negatively affect the rehabilitation of young offenders.