Kentucky House committee advances bill for special mental health juvenile detention facility

Kentucky legislature moves forward with plans for mental health juvenile detention facility

A bill has been advanced by a Kentucky House committee to establish a special mental health juvenile detention facility for high acuity youth. The sponsor, Sen. Danny Carroll, emphasized the importance of this bill, calling it a critical move. Senate Bill 252 has already passed the Senate and is now ready for consideration by the full House.

As Wednesday marks the 57th day of the 60-day legislative session, time is running out for the bill to become law. The legislature must pass bills by Friday in order to preserve their right to override a potential veto by Gov. Andy Beshear. Under Carroll’s bill, Kentucky would begin operating two female detention centers by Feb. 1, 2026 – one in Central Kentucky and one in the western part of the state. A third facility could be built if the first two reach capacity.

Additionally, Kentucky would also build a 16-bed acute mental health facility designed to house juveniles in need of specialized treatment for aggression, violence, or property destruction. The Department of Juvenile Justice would own and staff the facility, with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services partnering to provide appropriate mental health treatment.

While funding for these facilities is still uncertain due to unfinalized budget allocations from

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