In Kentucky, cases involving child abuse initiated in Family Court are called “DNA” actions, which stands for “Dependent, Neglected or Abused.” Most child abuse falls into either the “neglect” category where the parent or custodian doesn’t adequately take care of the child or “abuse” where the parent or custodian physically or emotionally injures the child or allows someone else to physically or emotionally injure the child. When an act of child abuse is reported to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services or to law enforcement, investigative workers from the county office will begin an investigation.
The goal of the Oldham County Attorney’s office is to ensure that children are properly protected and cared for. DNA proceedings are not criminal proceedings, so a parent cannot be incarcerated or fined as a result.
Child abuse is a serious crime that can be punished under other laws. It is possible to have a DNA case filed in Family Court regarding the safety and well-being of a child, and a criminal case initiated in District or Circuit Court against the parent who harmed the child. For more information, please contact the Kentucky Cabinet for the Health and Family Services.