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CASA of Lexington honored for work with LGBTQ youth

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CASA of Lexington has been recognized by the Human Rights Campaign for its treatment of LGBTQ youth. It’s the second consecutive year that Court Appointed Special Advocates, which works to end child abuse and neglect in central Kentucky, has received the certification. Ben Kleppinger is CASA’s director of communications.

“We actually earned the highest certification tier as an innovative inclusion organization, which means that we’re doing everything we can. And we’re working to do more to make sure that the children we serve are included, regardless of their identity and regardless of their background.”

CASA volunteers receive training and are sworn in by a judge, with a mission of speaking up for the best interest of abused and neglected children in court and elsewhere. Kleppinger said CASA volunteers’ work on behalf of LGBTQ youth helps kids who already face plenty of challenges.

“Unfortunately, LGBTQ teens are over-represented in the foster care system, as compared to the percentage of LGBTQ teens in the general population. And those teens face additional pressures, additional stresses, additional obstacles.”

Kleppinger said for LGBTQ youth, it’s especially important to have someone who accepts them, tells them they matter and gives them hope.

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