Kentucky Courts Need Special Advocates for Child Abuse Cases

LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) — The weight of the death of 10-year-old Landon Hayes has had a big impact on the community.

This leaves many people wondering what they can do to help?

The court-appointed special advocate, CASA, is looking for volunteers. People who advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children.

“Kentucky is, unfortunately, number one for child abuse…we have been for several years,” said Melynda Jamison, executive director of CASA.

The pandemic has had many significant consequences and special advocates appointed by the Lexington court have seen a troubling one, fewer petitions of reported child abuse and neglect cases, and a shortage of volunteers to care. of these cases.

“Unfortunately, we don’t believe abuse has decreased, but the number of abuse petitions or reports has decreased, which is around 1,200 for the most recent year on record,” Jamison said.

Melynda Jamison said they normally see around 1,500 cases a year. Educators are the primary whistleblowers of child abuse.

Teachers do not physically lay eyes on children, usually petitions are sent. It has a lot to do with the pandemic, less scrutiny of children, whether in schools, doctor visits happening virtually, etc.

Landon Hayes, 10, is the most recently documented victim of child abuse after he was shot and killed in a murder-suicide on Sunday

“I think whenever there is a loss of a child which is difficult for any community, I was recently informed that we have a situation in our own community and so I think the casa is a way for individuals to serve their community through volunteerism,” Jamison said.

Casa said more volunteers are needed to advocate for a child’s best interests… Looking to find safe and forever homes. The director said volunteering can be rewarding.

“We could see an adoption and it can be a happy day, we’ve had situations where you think of a little boy who just learned how to make French toast and that was a fun and exciting time,” Jamison.

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