Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Governor Ernie Fletcher Commends House for Passage of Boni Frederick Bill
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher today commended the House for its passage of House Bill 362, known as the Boni Frederick Bill, which adds more protections to state social service workers.
“The actions taken today are a step in the right direction,” Governor Fletcher said. “Upon the tragic death of Boni Frederick, we immediately assembled a task force of front-line staff, legislators and experts in the field to make recommendations on how to improve the safety of social workers. I am encouraged that HB 362 reflects many of the task force’s recommendations.”
The bill, which passed the House by a unanimous vote, is named for Boni Frederick, a 67-year-old Morganfield social service aide who died in the line of duty last October. Frederick, who worked in the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) in its Union County Department for Community Based Services office, was responsible for transporting state foster children to medical appointments and visits with birth parents.
As passed, the bill includes $4.8 million in general fund dollars for increased staffing and for additional opportunities for visitation centers, where foster children and their birth families can meet in a neutral, comfortable setting with trained staff.
The bill also directs the Legislative Research Commission to establish a task force to review salaries, retention, case load levels and other staff safety needs against national standards. The task force will make recommendations in December 2007 on staffing levels, salaries and optimal case load and may make recommendations for funding for emergency technology.
“Clearly, our staff’s voices were heard, particularly regarding the need for additional staff and more opportunities for visitation centers,” said CHFS Secretary Mark D. Birdwhistell said. “We are glad for the foundation of change provided by this bill.”
The bill now heads to the Senate for approval.