CASA office at VPD helps serve Woodford’s children
Having an office at the Versailles Police Department helps CASA
volunteer manager Jeanne Box and her team of court appointed special
advocates to serve abused and neglected kids in Woodford County,
according to Box and Melynda Milburn Jamison, CASA of Lexington’s
“They need to be in Woodford,” Jamison said. She said it’s a plus that
Box also lives in Woodford County.
“The police department has been very welcoming. They’ve been great,”
said Box. She said her children and VPD Chief Mike Murray’s kids went to
school at St. Leo, which occupied the site of the new police station on
North Main Street.
“To me,” said Box, “we’re also the face of the community for these
families who are in court.” So she said it’s important for CASA
volunteers to do their work – being the voice of a child – in a
community they call home.
Volunteer court appointed special advocates have access to resources and
supplies for children at the CASA office in Versailles, without having
to travel to Lexington, according to Jamison. “So it’s a broader network
of support for our volunteers. Because the volunteers are the lifeblood
of what we do,” she said.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. The blue pinwheels in downtown
Versailles represent every child who had a case of abuse or neglect in
Woodford County in 2020, Jamison said. There were 63 new cases of abuse
and neglect, which does not include Woodford County children already in
the system, she said.
She said a nationwide decline of about 20 percent in cases of abuse and
neglect last year was likely due to schools being closed and educators
not reporting cases.
“We are there for solely what’s in a child’s best interest,” said
Jamison of CASA volunteers. She said it’s not in the best interest of a
child to be returned to a biological parent if sexual abuse or other
abuse is still present in the home.