Parents of drug-dependent babies born in Kentucky could lose their rights under new bill

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Drug-dependent babies born in Kentucky could automatically be labeled an “abused or neglected child,” a change that would require state officials to investigate and begin the process of terminating parental rights.

The change is part of House Bill 1, a sweeping, bipartisan overhaul of the state’s foster care and adoption system. Any child born dependent on drugs would be considered abused or neglected, unless the mother is enrolled and complying with a drug treatment program.

A legislative committee unanimously approved the bill Thursday, sending it to the House floor for debate. The bill is a priority for Republican Governor Matt Bevin who, along with his wife, adopted four children from Ethiopia after they said they tried and failed to adopt from Kentucky’s system.