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Prosecutor, family court judge to serve on child fatality review panel

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Officials' first meeting is Tuesday

By Sarah Bennett

Created by an executive order in July, the Child Fatality and Near Fatality External Review Panel holds its first meeting Tuesday in Frankfort.

Gov. Steve Beshear announced the 17 members of the panel, which includes Hardin County Attorney Jenny Oldham and Hardin Family Court Judge Brent Hall. Hall is a nonvoting member, according to a news release from the governor’s office.

Members of the panel were appointed by Attorney General Jack Conway and external peer groups, according to the release.

Attached to the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, the panel will meet quarterly to review official records, case files or information relating to child fatalities or near fatalities, according to the governor’s office.

It also will recommend improvements to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and other agencies to strengthen child protection efforts, according to the release.

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services is required to conduct an internal review after a death or serious injury of an abused child.

Oldham, whose office oversees removal cases in Hardin County, said Friday she is not sure how she was nominated.

Asked what she would like to accomplish while on the panel, Oldham said she would like to see those working in child protection service trained in investigation as well as social work.

“Investigators are trained to gather evidence and social workers are trained to help,” she said.

Sarah Bennett can be reached at (270) 505-1750 or sbennett@thenewsenterprise.com.