GLASGOW (AP) — A Kentucky judge has held the state’s child welfare agency in contempt for the second time this year, according to a published report.
Barren County Family Court Judge Micah Wood Pence said her order stems from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services failure to follow a court decision to return a child to her mother, the Courier Journal reported.
Pence also found two cabinet employees in contempt for lying under oath at a hearing about their role in the case and directed a formal complaint to the Kentucky Bar Association against the cabinet’s lawyer, Jennifer Clay, the newspaper reported.
In response to a question about the findings, cabinet spokeswoman Susan Dunlap issued a brief statement.
“The cabinet is reviewing the judge’s orders and considering our legal options,” she said. “We are also looking into the judge’s findings with regard to cabinet personnel.”
Pence told the newspaper she took the unusual step of making her order and the family court case public on Monday instead of keeping it confidential in hopes of preventing a similar situation.
“The only way for this and similar situations to be remedied, so that the interests of a child are not adversely affected in the future, is for the court to clearly outline where things went wrong and request CHFS take steps to implement alternate procedures … aimed at ensuring this does not occur again in the future,” the order said.
The child in the case has since been returned to her mother.
Pence also found the agency in contempt on Feb. 8 for not providing enough staff and resources for the local child welfare office to manage caseloads.