Kentucky listed #1 in nation with highest rate of child abuse and neglect
Louisville, KY (Aug. 20, 2019) —With Kentucky having the highest rate of child abuse in the nation, Kosair Charities and its partners are working towards ending and preventing future abuse and/or neglect for the children in our community. Through their annual Gifts & Grants program, Kosair Charities’ generously granted $100,000 to CASA of the River Region (CASA) to train every day volunteers to become a mentor, friend and advocate to vulnerable children. CASA volunteers ensure children have a safe home, opportunities to succeed in school and receive the medical/therapeutic services they need to overcome trauma.
“There is an epidemic of child abuse in our state. Unfortunately, Kentucky gained the ignominious recognition of being number one in the country for child abuse and neglect,” says William Myers, CEO/President of CASA of the River Region. The “U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Children’s Bureau “Child Maltreatment 2017” report (released in 2019) shows Kentucky now has the highest abuse rate in the country (about 22 out of every 1,000 children).
Last year, there were 28,000+ substantiated cases of abuse and neglect in Kentucky, enough to fill 56 JCPS elementary schools. This prompted Kosair Charities to begin the Face It Movement, in which CASA is a partner organization. Keith Inman, President of Kosair Charities says, “We all need to rally to shine a light on abuse and neglect. The only way we end it is together. Most of our time is spent working with kids after the abuse. We need to get in front of the problem and stop it before it happens. We cannot do it alone, it takes a great deal of partners to ensure our kids will not experience abuse or neglect.”
Inman continues, “Kosair Charities is about making sure children grow up happy, healthy and safe. We provide financial support, like the Kosair Kids program that helps families with medical bills; the Gifts & Grants program; and lease space for nonprofits so they do not have to worry about overhead. One part of our mission is advocacy; there is no better advocate for the kids than CASA. They train volunteers to be the voice for kids who don’t have a voice.”
In 2018, CASA served 627 children (the most in its 35 year history) with 211 volunteers, but on any given day, approximately 150 children are waiting for someone to stand up for them in family court. Myers says, “CASA volunteers visit with children, ensure their educational and medical needs are being met, and also write a report to the judge with their recommendations. It only takes about 1-5 hours per week to completely change a child’s life.”
CASA volunteer Peg and her co-volunteer are paired with one case that has 5 siblings. All suffering from PTSD, Peg and her co-volunteer have been involved in getting special education services, therapy and assisting foster parents with court proceedings. For the CASA volunteer, they take vulnerable children across a scary bridge of uncertainty—leaving behind the bad and changing their story for the better. One of the kids summed up a CASA well by saying, “Miss Peg, you are the bestest big person in my world ever!”
Rep. John Yarmuth congratulated Kosair Charities’ efforts and CASA’s success. “Thanks to CASA for their incredible work. I’ve been recently blessed with my first grandchild. When you look into the face of an innocent child, you think about the importance of a group like CASA whose representing innocent people faced with horrible tragedies. The idea that we have 28,000 substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect in Kentucky in one year is stunning. It ought to be a wake up call to all of us!” Yarmuth continues, “We need to do everything we can to guarantee innocent children have the kind of lives we want for our own.”
Kosair Charities is elevating our community by committing over $12 million to 80+ partner organizations in 2020.
AMABELLE CAMBA (502) 400-8040 Amabelle@casarr.org;
LINDSAY WEHR (502) 637-7696 firstname.lastname@example.org