4-year-old Hunter Payton died in foster care from a fractured skull. The foster parent was later charged with murder. Image source from Wave 3 News video.

by Health Impact News/ staff

The corruption in Kentucky Child Protection Services and Foster Care has been reported on extensively here at Health Impact News since 2015. See:

Child Trafficking Reported in Kentucky as “One of the Most Corrupt States in the Country”

A new report aired on Wave 3 News by investigative journalist John Boel reveals that corruption in the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services is apparently ongoing, as one child was allegedly murdered by his foster parent after being taken away from his family, and another foster parent is blowing the whistle on the abuses of Kentucky foster care where children go missing due to lack of oversight.

The current investigation began in 2017, when 4-year-old Hunter Payton died in foster care, and his biological parents questioned the story put forward as to the cause of his death, which was reported to be an accident.

“They told us it was an ‘unlikely’ injury,” Hunter’s mother April Payton said. “It doesn’t happen. Something hit him hard.”

He had only been in foster care for 3 months. During that time, the parents allegedly complained to the state about bruising on their son, and they were apparently told several different stories about how he died in an accidental fall.

As John Boel reports:

Months after our report, Billy Embry-Martin, 33, was charged with murder.

The lawsuit accuses him and his husband, Travis Embry-Martin, of “violent punishment, physical abuse and denial of food.”

Billy Embry-Martin is free on bond awaiting a December trial on the murder charge.

Further Investigation Reveals Kentucky Foster Care System is “Corrupt and Incompetent”


The Payton family before Hunter’s death. Image source courtesy of Wave 3 News.

In another report by John Boel published in September, 2018, attorney Ron Hines spoke out against Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services:

“The Cabinet for families and children, the setup, is corrupt and incompetent,” attorney Ron Hines said. “It’s no longer helping children, and just getting them a better jump start in life, nothing like that anymore. It’s a for-profit scheme.”

Attorney Hines stated that the problem stems from the State of Kentucky paying a private company to place children in foster homes:

When Hines looked into it and filed a wrongful death lawsuit, he found the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services paying a private company to place children in foster homes. Private companies place about half of the children in state care into foster homes.

“Simply for finding people who want to be foster parents, these private firms are making so many dollars per head per kid, so it’s a vicious cycle,” Hines said. “The more kids, the more money. That’s why it’s run rampant. That’s why the courts are swamped.”

Foster Parent Blows Whistle

Foster Parent Kim Campbell photo

Foster Parent Kim Campbell. Image courtesy Wave 3.

Next in John Boel’s investigation, he interviewed Kim Campbell, a Kentucky foster parent who is enraged over the practices of the system that is killing and harming children:

“When these things happen, kids get lost, and they get hurt, they get killed, everybody scratches their head and says we don’t know how it happened,” foster parent Kim Campbell said. “It starts like this.”

An outraged Campbell said she now understands how tragedies happen in Kentucky’s foster care system. Her situation has nothing to do with privatization. She’s been dealing with the same state government agency that’s been placing foster children for decades. She brought us a pile of documentation to show what happened after she took emergency placement of a foster child on Feb. 16.

“The problem is, they had never met us,” Campbell said. “They never laid eyes on us. And I know they’re supposed to come meet us to make sure we’re an approved home.”

Two weeks after Campbell and her husband had taken in a foster child, a state worker wrote: “I don’t even have you listed as having a placement.”

Five weeks and multiple emails after taking the teen the Campbells complained, “she has yet to be placed with us from an official standpoint. We have no info on her. We have no medical card.”

“We could have been anybody,” Campbell said. “We could’ve been very bad people. We could’ve done harm to her. We could have claimed she ran away, they wouldn’t have known, they didn’t lay eyes on her.”

At the 6 week mark Campbell complained, “If we were showing as unapproved in the system from the get go, why were we not contacted immediately?”

At the 2 month mark she wrote the state, “I have still never received any information on the child from the worker or her supervisor.”

“We had moved,” Campbell said. “They didn’t know where we were. We told them we were moving and gave our address but they told my husband when they called him that we weren’t even in the system as being an approved home. So if we’re not in an approved home, why do we have your child for two months that you have not even come out to see?” (Source.)


Reporter John Boel has been reporting on the corruption in Kentucky CPS and Foster Care for over 10 years, and yet nothing seems to have changed. Here are some of his past investigations:

Whistleblowers Reveal CPS Child Kidnappings in Kentucky Adoption Business

Is Kentucky The Most Corrupt State in the Country Trafficking Children Through Child “Protection” Services?

More on Kentucky corruption in kidnapping children:

Child Trafficking Reported in Kentucky as “One of the Most Corrupt States in the Country”

Kentucky is Being Investigated for Corruption: Will the State’s Sordid History of Legal Kidnapping Finally be Punished?

Destroying Families in Kentucky via State-sponsored Child Trafficking: United We Stand, Divided We Fall

Medical Kidnapping in Kentucky: Mother Coerced to Give Up Daughter to Adoption in Order to Keep Son

Kentucky Baby Medically Kidnapped Along with Siblings and Forced on to Formula

Pregnant Homeschool Mom Assaulted by Sheriff as CPS Kidnaps Her Kids in Kentucky

Mom Speaks Out on Corrupt Kentucky Child “Protection” System that Destroyed her Family

Kentucky Parents Found Not Guilty of Charges in Criminal Court but Family Court Refuses to Return Children

Kentucky Family Falsely Accused of Child Abuse – Children Medically Kidnapped to Cover Corruption

1-Hour Old Newborn Baby Kidnapped at Kentucky Hospital because Parents Refused to Take Parenting Classes

Lexington KY Social Worker Caught Lying – Charged with “Misconduct”