A bill that aims to establish a special juvenile mental health detention facility in Kentucky has been unanimously approved by a House committee. The bill, known as Senate Bill 252, was sponsored by Sen. Danny Carroll, R-Western Kentucky. Carroll emphasized the importance of the bill and called it “critical” for the well-being of young individuals.

The bill has already passed the Senate and is now awaiting consideration by the full House. With only a few days left in the 60-day legislative session, there is a short period of time for the legislation to become law. The House needs to fully pass the legislation by Friday to preserve its right to override a potential veto by Gov. Andy Beshear.

Under Senate Bill 252, Kentucky plans to operate two detention centers for women by February 1, 2026, one in central Kentucky and the other in the western part of the state. A third center could be built if the first two reach capacity. In addition, a 16-bed acute mental health facility will be built to provide specialized treatment for juveniles who exhibit aggression, violence or destruction of property.

The Department of Juvenile Justice will manage and staff the facility, with support from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to ensure appropriate mental health treatment. Although the final budget has not been confirmed,

By Samantha Johnson

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