Editorial Cartoon

There’s no way to be able to accurately describe the impacts of abuse on a child suffering through it, particularly through the horrific experience of sexual abuse.

Even after the actual crime occurs, and in cases where the abuser is criminally charged, the already-traumatized child is subjected to a legal system that is not necessarily geared toward making sure their needs are taken into consideration. Even well-meaning court personnel cannot make up for the confusion and fear the child is likely feeling.

That’s where, locally, the Big Sandy Child Advocacy Center, better known as Judi’s Place for Kids, comes in. Judi’s Place comes in on the ground level of a case of abuse, providing a safe, comfortable place for the child to be interviewed by police and then picking up from there and advocating and providing services for these children to ensure they’re holistically treated.

Recently, a telethon hosted at the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg for the organization raised more than $22,000 to help with the facility’s operation.

We applaud all those who stepped up and made this event possible, as well as those who donated to this incredibly important cause.

Again, Judi’s Place is there at the beginning of the investigation of abuse cases. But it’s so much more.

During the telethon, Pikeville Police Sgt. Chad Branham described the center during the telethon as the “building block and a foundation” for his department’s ability to handle child abuse cases.

“Without them, we couldn’t get anyone prosecuted, and we could not get any of the kids that we run across that needs help, the help that they need because they provide so many services that no one else can,” he said.

He explained that the center offers therapy, forensic interviews, forensic exams, advocates who support and help abused children and their families, as well as equipment to collect evidence.

“Like I said, nobody likes the bad guys out there that do bad things to kids. Without them (Judi’s Place), they are not going to get prosecuted because they’re there for the victims and they help us with the victims. They help us get their interviews admissible in court. They know how to interview these children better than we do. That’s why we use them,” he said.

The organization offers a number of services, even up to a specially-trained dog which accompanies children to court hearings they must attend to help the child feel more comfortable. The center’s staff and network of organizations assist the child and their caregiver in many ways, including transportation and mental health services.

The organization partners with law enforcement, child protective services, prosecutors and mental health professionals to meet the needs of the child, and much more. All this is done at no cost to the child and their caregiver.

We’re thankful for each person who participates in helping fund Judi’s Place, but we also challenge more to get involved. Because all of this is done at no cost to the families, the organization is limited in its scope and abilities only by the amount of funding it receives, most pointedly through state and federal sources.

The more Judi’s Place receives in private donations, the more it can expand services, serve more children if necessary, invest in specialized training for staff and others

We pray for a day that Judi’s Place will be able to close its doors because it’s no longer needed, but we’re realistic enough to know that, in lieu of that, we owe it to our community’s children to ensure that Judi’s Place never needs or wants for anything.

Get educated. Get involved. Give.

Judi’s Place is well-deserving of our support and we encourage everyone to support it and its mission.

To donate, contact Judi’s Place at, (606) 437-7447, or visit, https://bit.ly/2HQdxGC.

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