Asbury “Celebrates Children” in Kentucky
Community members from Jessamine County gathered today at the courthouse in Nicholasville, Ky., to observe Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Asbury University co-sponsored the awareness-raising event through its social work program. Senior Katie Pifer, a social work major who is interning at the Department of Community Based Services, helped organize the event, which included remarks from a local foster family and a poetry reading titled “We Pray for Children” by elementary student Meredith Huffman.
"This internship at Child Protective Services has shown me that child neglect (and to some extent, abuse) is related to a lack of resources or an inability to access resources present in the community," Pifer said. "I used to think that CPS workers just went in and removed children from their parents; now I know that CPS workers are working with the parents to keep the children safe in their homes. A big part of the job is connecting families with resources in the community that are available to them."
Jessamine County mayors Russ Meyer (Nicholasville) and Harold Rainwater (Wilmore) read a joint proclamation establishing April as Child Abuse Prevention Month and affirming the worth of “our treasures.” Rainwater also directs Asbury’s equine program.
Last year in Jessamine County, there were 184 substantiated cases of child abuse or neglect, said Tristan Fretwell, a 2009 graduate of Asbury University who works in the Department of Community Based Services.
“Our hope with this event is to continue the ongoing battle to raise awareness to this issue and ensure that 184 is a number that decreases until we reach the year when no child is a victim," Fretwell says.
Handprints painted by students at Nicholasville Elementary School dotted the courthouse lawn, each representing an abused or neglected child.