Beshear: Prevent child abuse with your state tax refund

FRANKFORT — One of the simplest ways to help prevent child abuse in Kentucky is to check the box on the state income tax refund form and designate a portion to the Child Victims’ Trust Fund, said Attorney General Andy Beshear.

“Kentucky’s children are at risk and the need is great,” said Beshear. “Anyone who can help will have a sense of pride in knowing that their donation will go directly toward fighting child abuse in Kentucky and supporting victims.”

Beshear said over the past two years, the Child Victims’ Trust Fund has provided $260,000 to support statewide and regional child abuse prevention programs and organizations like Child Watch Counseling and Advocacy Center’s Safety Tools and Golden Rules program.

The program received more than $16,000 in trust funding in July 2017 to provide sexual abuse prevention education to more than 12,000 pre-school and elementary students in Ballard, Calloway, Carlisle, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Livingston, Marshall and McCracken counties. The funds also help the program reach more than 300 campers from across the state at the Kentucky Sheriff’s Boys and Girls Ranch in Gilbertsville.

“With support from the Child Victims’ Trust Fund we will provide thousands of children in the Purchase area with sexual abuse prevention education, empowering them with the knowledge to prevent or stop child abuse from occurring,” said Child Watch’s Executive Director Janie Criner. “We are extremely grateful for this grant funding.”

More than $160,000 in funding also went to support Children’s Advocacy Centers across the state to help pay for hundreds of child sexual abuse medical exams.

The Children’s Advocacy Center of the Bluegrass relies on the funding to seek justice for child victims throughout the Bluegrass region.

“This funding is critical to our mission of helping reduce the trauma experienced by sexually abused children,” said the organization’s Executive Director Winn Stephens. “Through our partnership we are able to provide comprehensive medical examinations that help children overcome the abuse they have suffered and bring perpetrators to justice.”

More than 1,200 prosecutors, social workers and community advocates have also received training through the fund on how to protect Kentucky’s children from sexual abuse.

Beshear said trainings currently provided in partnership with Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky are helping youth-serving organizations like daycares, summer camps and churches to evaluate their programs and implement an action plan that will strengthen protocols and policies to safeguard children from sexual abuse.

“Funding from the trust fund has been critical to our statewide efforts to reach out to youth-serving organizations to provide them the tools to help keep kids safe while in their care,” said Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky Executive Director Jill Seyfred. “We have reached thousands of Kentuckians through the written protocol and onsite trainings. We know these funds have helped save children in our state from being sexually abused.”

Created in 1984, the fund, administered by the Office of the Attorney General, depends on tax-deductible contributions to aid child abuse prevention organizations. The Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Prevention Board, a 170(c) (1) nonprofit, distributes the funds through a grant process.

Since taking office, Beshear has made protecting children from abuse one of the top priories for his office. Beshear’s cyber crimes unit has nearly tripled the number of child sex offenders they have removed from Kentucky communities.

Beshear reminds Kentuckians that everyone has a moral and legal duty to report any instance of child abuse to local law enforcement or to Kentucky’s Child Abuse hotline at 877-597-2331 or 877-KYSAFE1.

Visit the Child Victims’ Trust Fund website at https://icareaboutkids.ky.gov/.