Politics & Government

Kentucky health cabinet official resigns

Patricia R. Wilson
Patricia R. Wilson

FRANKFORT — Patricia R. Wilson, commissioner of the department in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services that oversees child abuse cases, has resigned.

Wilson submitted her resignation Friday, cabinet spokeswoman Gwenda Bond said Monday.

Gov. Steve Beshear appointed Wilson commissioner of the state Department for Community Based Services in January 2008. Her annual salary was $111,348, according to state records.

Bond did not immediately know the reason for Wilson's resignation or whether her departure had anything to do with a legal battle between the cabinet and the state's largest newspapers about information about child deaths as a result of abuse or neglect.

Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd ruled Nov. 3 that the Lexington Herald-Leader and The Courier-Journal were entitled to all case files involving children who have died as a result of abuse or neglect who had previous contact with the cabinet. The cabinet had fought the release of the documents until early last week, when Gov. Steve Beshear announced that the case files would be released.

Shepherd had previously ordered the release of documents in other child fatalities, including in the case of Amy Dye, a 9-year-old Todd County girl who was beaten to death by her adoptive brother in February.

The case file showed that the cabinet never conducted an internal fatality review after Dye's death. An internal fatality review would look at the cabinet's previous involvement with the family and if there were missteps. The cabinet had received several reports of allegations of physical abuse concerning Amy Dye in the years before her death.

The cabinet said that it did not think it was required to conduct an internal fatality review because Dye's death was caused by her adoptive brother, not by a custodial parent.

Key lawmakers have said they want to hold a hearing in December on child fatalities as a result of abuse or neglect.

Wilson could not be immediately reached for comment. A man who answered her home phone in Danville Monday night said she was not available.

Wilson's bio on the state Web site said she was a family service worker and supervisor in Boyle, Lincoln and Garrard counties for 19 years.

Her previous roles in the cabinet included policy analyst with the Office of Program Support and with the Office of Policy and Budget, and assistant director of the community based services department's division of policy development.

She previously was an executive adviser with the department, coordinating the state's Child and Family Services Review.

Wilson received a bachelor's degree in education and a master's degree in social work from the University of Kentucky.

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