A national journalism organization has criticized the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services for withholding information about children killed or severely hurt in state foster care because of abuse or neglect.
The Society of Professional Journalists cited the Cabinet as a runner-up for its "Black Hole Award," created to highlight violations of the public's right to know.
The Cabinet has routinely denied public access to records on individual child deaths.
The Lexington Herald-Leader and The (Louisville) Courier-Journal won access with a lawsuit to records about a 20-month-old Wayne County boy who drank drain cleaner and died while under state monitoring.
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After that, the cabinet filed an emergency rule to limit information about the actions of child protection workers in cases involving children killed or severely injured because of abuse and neglect.
The SPJ said the Cabinet had engaged in a "campaign of obfuscation."
A Cabinet spokeswoman said earlier this year the agency was following state and federal law in denying the newspapers' requests for records.