A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Blue pinwheels placed along Nicholasville Road in recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month

If you have driven down Nicholasville Road near New Circle recently, you may have noticed a lot of extra blue in front of Raising Cane’s. The hundreds of blue pinwheels were planted Monday and will stay up all April for Child Abuse Prevention Month.

CASA of Lexington put up the pinwheels, thanks to a grant from Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky and Aetna. CASA of Lexington’s trained volunteers serve abused and neglected children in Fayette, Bourbon, Woodford and Scott counties.

“We have an immediate need for more CASA volunteers to speak up for abused and neglected children right here in Lexington,” said Melynda Jamison, Executive Director. “Right now, there are more children who need a CASA volunteer than there are volunteers to take those cases.”

More information about becoming a CASA volunteer is available at casaoflexington.org.

Kentucky is the worst state in the nation for child abuse and neglect three years running, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

There were more than 20 cases of abuse and neglect for every 1,000 children in the state in 2020. In Fayette County, there were 942 cases.

“New cases of child abuse and neglect dropped by as much as 20% in Kentucky last year. Unfortunately, that’s not because abuse and neglect went down. It’s because pandemic restrictions meant fewer eyes and ears on children to spot the signs of abuse and say something,” CASA of Lexington Executive Director Melynda Jamison said. “That’s why Child Abuse Prevention Month in 2021 is so important. As things open back up and many of us get back to ‘normal,’ we must also remember to look out for the most vulnerable children in our communities. Even if the pandemic had never happened, their lives were already a long way from anything we would consider ‘normal.’”

CASA of Lexington’s next volunteer training will begin June 15; more information is available at casaoflexington.org/training.

If you would like to make a difference for children in Fayette County, there are also many other ways you can help prevent child abuse, according to Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky, including:

• You can make sure the children in your life know if they ever see or hear of others being harmed, they should tell a trusted adult.

• You can take free online trainings available from PCAK at pcaky.org/trainings.

• You can access and share prevention materials at pcaky.org/information-and-data.

From CASA of Lexington

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