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Friday, Mar 16, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE –  March 16, 2018

Contact: Andrea Bruns, State Director                                   
Kentucky CASA Network                               
Phone: (502) 238-2154

Email: abruns@kentuckycasanetwork.org

CASA in Kentucky Receives National Recognition

At the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association 2018 Awards of Excellence event held in Boston, Massachusetts, two Kentuckians received national awards for their outstanding work on behalf of abused and neglected children. In addition, the Hon. Brandi Rogers, Kentucky Family Court Judge, Marion, KY, was selected as one of thirteen inaugural appointees to the National CASA Association’s Judicial Leadership Council which held their first development meeting at this year’s conference.

Melynda Jamison (center), Executive Director of CASA of Lexington, was named the 2018 Kappa Alpha Theta Program Director of theYear. In presenting this award, Kappa Alpha Theta Vice President Kimberly Morris Martin observed that Melynda “has been the driving force behind the program’s tremendous growth and success, more than doubling the number of volunteers and tripling the number of children with an advocate” since she joined CASA of Lexington in 2013. With almost 1,000 local CASA programs across the United States, it is a remarkable achievement to have been selected for this recognition. In her acceptance speech, Ms. Jamison offered encouragement to everyone striving to improve the lives of children who have been abused and neglected, saying there is no magic potion or single person that can bring about success: “If we each just keep working, strengthen one another, and help each other out in areas we are strongest, we will one day provide a voice through CASA for every child that needs us.”

Andrea Bruns, State Director for the Kentucky CASA Network, is the first-ever recipient of the National CASA Association State Director of the Year Award. This award was newly created in 2018 by the National CASA Association in recognition that “state directors are invaluable members of this national network. They must combine vision and passion with practical know-how and leadership. They must juggle a wide range of demands and constituents. And through all of this, they must stay focused on the needs of vulnerable children. They are ambassadors for the children in their state and across the country.”  Judge Anthony Capizzi, President of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, presented the award to Ms. Bruns, announcing that the award was meant for someone who had “developed the state CASA network and improved its governance and practices” and “raised awareness of issues facing children who had been abused or neglected.” The NCASA Association stated that “under Andrea’s enthusiastic leadership and invaluable guidance, the Kentucky CASA Network has grown to a network of 21 local programs serving 49 of the Commonwealth’s 120 counties with nearly 1,000 volunteers serving over 3,000 children.”   

About her award, Ms. Bruns says she considers it an honor to have been selected as the first recipient of the National CASA Association State Director of the Year Award, but she notes that there is still more work to be done in Kentucky to provide children who have been abused and neglected with a volunteer advocate. “I came to CASA as a CASA volunteer in 2007 and consider it one of the most important contributions I made to the network in Kentucky because that is why we are here – to provide volunteer advocates for children who have been abused or neglected so that these children have someone who gets to know them and who looks out for their needs during a scary and complicated court process.” To learn more about becoming a CASA volunteer in Kentucky visit https://www.beforthechildky.org/.

NCASA Association’s full remarks regarding Melynda Jamison and Andrea Bruns may be found here and here respectively.

Hon. Brandi Rogers, Family Court Judge for Crittenden, Union and Webster Counties, has been appointed to the Judicial Leadership Council by the National CASA Association Board of Trustees.  Judge Rogers is one of thirteen members appointed to the new council whose purpose is to provide input and recommendations to National CASA on ways to engage the judiciary, bring the judicial officers’ voice to National CASA’s work, and assist in the design and development of a new Judicial Involvement Initiative. “We are very appreciative and excited to have this level of judicial commitment and expertise serving on this leadership council,” said National CASA CEO Tara Perry.

 

About the Kentucky CASA Network

The Kentucky CASA Network, Inc. (KCN) is the State Court-Appointed Special Advocate Association as recognized in Kentucky Revised Statutes with a mission to support and strengthen Local CASA Programs who support trained community volunteers appointed by Judges to represent the best interests of dependent, abused and neglected children in Kentucky.