Meeting and greeting with the public after Monday afternoon’s economic development announcement, Governor Steve Beshear was interviewed by WHOP News regarding the Amy Dye case and his plan to make sure such cases of abuse and murder become less and less frequent.
The Governor held a news conference last week to open up Health and Family Services Cabinet records in cases where a child has died or nearly died as a result of alleged neglect or abuse.
While many disagree with the number of items which would be redacted from the records, the Governor says there is support for making Kentucky a more open state when it comes to investigating child abuse. “I think that everybody is ready to move forward in that area,” he said.
“I ordered the cabinet to release the records in child fatalities and near fatalities. The cabinet has to have people to feel confident in it and I think part of raising that confidence level is making sure the records in those types of situations are open.”
He says a crucial part of that is creating an independent panel of citizens to look into such cases.
“We also want to create an independent review panel. Anytime a child dies like that, I think we need a panel of psychologies, teachers and social workers and law enforcement not appointed by the cabinet, but appointed by the Attorney General to take a good hard look at these things and if there is something the cabinet can do better or do differently than we ought to know that.”
As he did last week, the Governor praised the work of Kentucky social workers and said most are great people doing a good job.
“Our social workers, by and large, are wonderful people. They are asked to do one of the most difficult jobs that anyone has. We ask them to be lawyers, doctors, nurses and teachers—everything rolled into one. They have to make some very difficult judgments, dealing with families at their very worst. I want the social workers to know we have confidence in them—we are going to back them up—but we have to make sure we’re doing everything we can to protect our children.”
Governor Beshear described the case of 9-year old Amy Dye of Todd County as “tragic” numerous times and said work must be done to be sure those types of incidents don’t happen again.
“We can always learn from things that go wrong, as well as when things go right,” he said. “Obviously things went very wrong in Amy’s tragic situation and we’re going to learn from this and we’re going to improve our system.”
18-year old Garrett Dye was sentenced to 50 years in prison last month for admitting to using a hydraulic jack handle to beat his adopted sister to death February 4th. He will be eligible for parole in 20 years. Amy’s adopted parents; Chris and Kimberly Dye and adopted brother Myles Dye are accused of abuse in numerous state records but have never faced any charges.