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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

executive director.

“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.

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