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CASA of Lexington adds child advocates

CASA Child Advocates
CASA of Lexington

Kentucky is number one in the nation for child abuse and neglect. That’s a tough statistic to wrap your head around, but recently 23 volunteers put their hearts into it by becoming CASA of Lexington advocates for abused and neglected children.

The 23 volunteers were sworn in by Fayette County Family Court Judge Lucinda Masterton after being trained for 30 hours. CASA Community Engagement Coordinator Ben Kleppinger (kelp-ing-er) said this is not your average volunteering job.

“It requires a heart for helping children and sometimes you have to be willing to have that heart be broken because you really end up caring about these kids,” explained Kleppinger. “And you have to advocate for them to get the things they need and it’s not always the best situation. But we take situations that aren’t the best situations and make them better for these kids so their futures are brighter.”

The volunteers visit monthly with the kids assigned to them by the court, talk to the adults involved in the case and report back to the judge. Kleppinger says many of these kids don’t have anyone who is consistent in their life.

“Residential placements changing all the time, they might go to different schools, they might see different doctors, social workers and the attorneys that represent them can change as well,” said Kleppinger. “There’s a lot of turnover and a lot of different faces. So, CASA volunteers become a consistent for these kids. They’re a positive male of female adult role model for these kids.”

Kleppinger said child advocates are regular, everyday people and CASA needs more of them. He said CASA only has enough advocates for about one-in-five abused or neglected kids in the six counties it serves.

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