The Richmond Kiwanis Club unanimously endorsed a constitutional amendment creating a state Family Court system at its meeting on Tuesday, October 15. Although prohibited by Kiwanis International from endorsing individual political candidates, the members of the local Kiwanis expressed their unqualified support of the Family Courts system because of their commitment to children.
Dr. Kim Naugel, an education professor at Eastern Kentucky University, said the Family Courts system was one of the best ways of protecting children from abuse in the homes.
Judge Jeannie Logue, a Madison County Circuit Judge for one of the 26 county pilot Family Courts, told Kiwanians that she hears 700 family related cases each month and has about 2.000 new cases each year. She cited the continuity provided by the Family Courts as one of the particular benefits of the court. She said that Family Courts carried 52 per cent of all of the local circuit court cases.
Dr. Glen Kleine, president of the Richmond Kiwanis Club, said that club members hope Richmond and Madison County citizens will vote in favor of the constitutional amendment on November 5th. He added that the question on the ballot will be: "Are you in favor of Family Courts in Kentucky by amending the Kentucky Constitution to allow the Supreme Court to designate a division of circuit court as a Family Court?" He said approval of the amendment will create a permanent state Family Court system in Kentucky.
Explaining the origin of the Kentucky Family Courts, Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice Joseph Lambert recently wrote, "In 1991, a group of thoughtful and caring people began a Family Court Pilot Project in Jefferson County. Their goal was to create a court that was family-friendly and devoted exclusively to family law cases. They believed that the same judge should consider all legal matters relating to a family, whether juvenile, domestic, violence, custody, or divorce, and that the judge should be able to use counseling, mediation, and divorce education to reduce the distress of families in crisis. The Jefferson County Family Court was so successful that the Family Court Pilot Project was expanded in 1998 to 18 other counties across Kentucky."
Justice Lambert noted that today there are Family Courts in Jefferson, Gallatin, Boone, Franklin, McCracken, Christian, Warren, Clark, Madison, Pulaski, Lincoln, Rockcastle, Magoffin, Knot, Floyd, Pike, Oldham, Henry, and Trimble counties. One million Kentucky citizens in 19 counties are now served by Family Courts, but three million Kentuckians in 101 counties do not have access to these specialized family-friendly courts.
"Family Court is based on the idea that all judicial proceedings involving children and families should be collected and resolved in a single court. By having one judge preside over all the legal problems facing a family, unique family circumstances can be better understood. While a Family Court is a court of law, it is also a link to services in the community. Family Court judges understand that distressed families with children often need more than a legal resolution of their problems. Sometimes they need assistance to restore family stability and help deal with serious problems such as alcohol and drug abuse, domestic violence, child abuse, and divorce. Family Courts can make specific referrals to outside agencies and order specific treatment to meet the individual needs of children and families," said Justice Lambert.
When parents are in the middle of a bitter dispute, children suffer. If the case is heard over and over again by different judges, solutions may be delayed, inconsistent, or contradictory. While it's impossible to completely protect children from the difficulties of life such as divorce and family discord, Family Courts can help nurture children and families through these difficult times.
The Kentucky Chief Justice noted, "There is no doubt that Family Courts have been successful. However, our state constitution does not specifically provide for Family Courts. Believing that Family Courts are vitally important, and that they should be available to all Kentucky citizens, the 2001 Kentucky General Assembly passed a Family Court Amendment and put it on the November 2002 General Election ballot. The people of Kentucky will have the final say on Family Courts."
The Family Courts constitutional amendment is also endorsed by the Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives, the Kentucky Education Association, Kentucky Farm Bureau, the Kentucky Burley Tobacco Growers Association, the Kentucky Association of Retired Teachers, and the Kentucky Circuit and District Judges associations.
When you breathe for two, your baby's health depends on you Being pregnant is a special time in every woman's life. It's a time when two lives function as one; when the mother-to-be's hopes and dreams for her baby's future first begin to take hold. Never in a woman's life will any living thing be as entirely dependent upon her as her baby.
Because a woman's health habits directly affect her unborn child, the baby's well-being depends on its mother. If her habits are healthy, it 's likely her baby will be healthy. And what a woman breathes is as important as what she eats, because a pregnant woman doesn't just eat for two, she breathes for two as well .
If you 've never had a good enough reason to quit smoking,
Your baby. Your baby depends on you for survival, but if you smoke during pregnancy, your baby may be a candidate for an array of defects and diseases. Worse, smoking could deprive your unborn baby of an opportunity at life.
Many birth defects have been directly linked to smoking during pregnancy, including:
Low Birth Weight -Children born with low birth weight (five-and-one-half pounds or less) are not prepared to live outside the womb. Low birth weight is responsible for more than half of all infant deaths.Heavy smoking increases this possibility for your baby by 300 percent.
Mental and Physical Defects -The chances for respiratory defects are increased, and some studies have linked smoking to mental retardation and physical handicaps.
Stillbirths -Smoking during pregnancy increases risk of stillbirth by 55 percent.
Miscarriages -Heavy smokers are 170 percent more likely than nonsmokers to have miscarriages. One pack per day doubles the risk.
A problem-free pregnancy in which the mother smoked does not guarantee that the next pregnancy will go as smoothly. Defects that occur during pregnancy sometimes do not surface until later. Children of smokers may be shorter and smaller than other children, or less capable in verbal and math skills. Heart and lung problems are more likely to develop.
There's nothing to lose by quitting smoking, and everything to gain -particularly your health and the health of your baby. If you quit smoking early in your pregnancy, your baby's chances for normal birth weight and general health can be similar to that of a nonsmoker. The less you smoke, the better off your baby will be. Millions of people have quit smoking. You can too. Remember, there's no better reason to quit. Take the first step for building a healthy, normal life for you and your baby. If you don 't stop smoking now, you may never forgive yourself. Allow your baby a better chance to grow up and give back the love you have given it.
The first step is to make the decision to quit smoking. The first week usually is the most difficult, but after that the craving diminishes. Deep breathing exercises will help you relax during stressful periods.
You don't have to do it alone; help is available .Consult your obstetrician or family doctor. He or she may r commend one of the many smoking-cessation programs that are available.
If you 've never tried quitting before, you may find it surprisingly easy. Many persons quit and find they don ' t miss smoking. If you 've tried quitting before, keep in mind that it sometimes takes several attempts. Just because you didn't quit before doesn't mean you won't make it this time. And now you have two good reasons to quit instead of just one.
Smoking during pregnancy may result in one or more of the following:
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS ) Also know as "crib death. "Thirteen percent of SIDS deaths have been attributed to smoking either during pregnancy or after birth.
Brain Development -Increases the risk of neurological abnormalities such as cerebral palsy, mental retardation, epilepsy, and hyperactivity.
Respiratory Diseases -Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk by three times.
Miscarriages -One pack per day increases the risk two-fold.
Low Birth Rate -Low birth weight (LBW) is responsible for 55 percent of all infant deaths. Smoking doubles the risk of LBW, while heavy smoking increases the risk by 300 percent.
Displaced or Prematurely Separated Placenta - One-third to one-half of all deaths occurring at birth are due to displaced or separated placenta. Smoking increases placenta displacment by 53 percent.
This information was drawn from publications by the American Lung Association, the March of Dimes, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
You can find smoking cessation programs at many hospitals and health centers.
For more information on smoking cessation,go to one of these websites:
Or,call one of the organizations listed below:
American Heart Association - 800/242-8721
American Cancer Society - 800/227-2345
American Lung Association - 800/586-487