Thursday, February 29, 2024

NCCPR in The Lexington Herald-Leader: From Ian Sousis to Dovia Pernell, Ky Cabinet’s failures lead to tragedy

A year-and-a-half ago on these pages, I wrote about the tragic deaths of two children who had been institutionalized by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, only to die while in the agency’s care. Here’s what I wrote about nine-year-old Ian Sousis, who drowned in the Ohio River after running away from a “residential treatment center.” 

His grandparents had custody since he was an infant. As a toddler, he was diagnosed with autism. No matter where he was, he ran away a lot. All the grandparents needed was therapy for the child and help to be sure he was never out of someone’s sight. Had they been rich they easily could have purchased both. But they’re not rich. So they had to turn to the Cabinet … which offered no alternatives except institutions – and took control of where Ian would live. 

Here’s how much Kentucky officials learned from that tragedy: 

Read the full column in the Herald-Leader