Advocates for children in Jessamine and surrounding counties receive $100K donation

Published 5:08 pm Monday, January 17, 2022

A group advocating for children in Jessamine and surrounding counties received more than $100,000 during the end of 2021. From last year’s vehicles sales at Dan Cummins’ locations in Paris and Georgetown, the auto-dealer donated the child-advocacy organization $101,923.

The Lexington office for CASA – Court-Appointed Special Advocates, is an organization advocating for more than 600 children in Jessamine, Garrard, Fayette, Bourbon, Woodford and Scott counties. That’s what Ben Kleppinger, community engagement coordinator tells the Jessamine Journal.

“CASA volunteers are sworn in by a family court judge and they’re assigned to the case of an abused or neglected child in the family court system,” explained Kleppinger. “They visit with the child at a monthly basis. They get to know the child often better than anybody else in the court room. They provide reports for the judge to let them know how the child is doing, what needs the child has.”

Through these services, volunteers are able to bring a deeper perspective about what a child is going through. These volunteers are also the only people whose exclusive purpose is to advocate for the bests interest of these children.

“The results that come with that are the kids get more services they need that help them deal better with the trauma almost all of them had gone through,” said Kleppinger. “These children perform better in school, and CASA volunteers keep the focus on getting these kids into safe, permanent homes.”

Kleppinger states that approximately $1,000 is needed for every child assisted yearly. With more than $100,000, more than 100 children can have advocates in 2022.

It wasn’t until late 2021 that CASA of Lexington began servicing the Jessamine area. Their first case was in October, and a total of nine children were given advocates throughout the rest of the year. Kleppinger hopes they’ll be able to help 49 Jessamine children this year.

“Between Jessamine and Gerrard combined, a total of 352 children were classified as abused or neglected in 2021,” he said. “And these are new cases entering the family court system that year. What we’ve done thus far is only a drop in the bucket.”

As of this writing, Jessamine has around ten individuals volunteering for CASA. Kleppinger says they’re more than willing to accept additional volunteers. Volunteers can apply at the CASA office in Lexington, located at 3245 Loch Ness Drive.

Those who do volunteer will go through 30 hours of pre-service training, held at the Lexington Location. Their virtual guided learning training is entirely online, and begins in March. In-person training begins in April.

For more information on CASA advocacy services, visit their website at casaoflexington.org, or call (859) 246-4313.