Attorney General Andy Beshear joined wife Britainy Beshear, children served by Silverleaf Sexual Trauma Recovery Services and the organization’s executive director Dr. Jillian Carden to open a new Hope Gallery art exhibit in Frankfort.
The Hope Gallery, located in the main lobby of the Office of the Attorney General in the state Capitol, features paintings from 24 children who are being helped by Silverleaf, a Children’s Advocacy Center located in Elizabethtown.
Britainy Beshear serves on the board at Maryhurst in Louisville, and established the Hope Gallery in April 2016 to help raise awareness for Child Abuse Prevention Month, Kentucky children and families who face adversities and art therapy programs.
“I appreciate the compassionate and dedicated staff at Silverleaf for helping children throughout the Lincoln Trail region recover and heal,” said Mrs. Beshear. “Each of these children are truly courageous – and the Hope Gallery celebrates their courage and provides a permanent reminder in our state Capitol of the responsibility we all have as Kentuckians to end child sexual abuse.”
Silverleaf supports child victims and their families through crisis intervention, counseling services, victim advocacy, forensic interviews, medical examinations, community education and consultation referral.
“Watching these children realize the real and positive impact their voices have in the Hope Gallery is truly some of the most rewarding moments for me personally,” said Beshear. “Providing a safe childhood and a real path to prosperity for Kentucky’s children are the reasons why Britainy and I, and those in the Office of the Attorney General are working so hard to prevent child abuse and exploitation.”
Dr. Jillian Carden, executive director of Silverleaf said it is an honor to have been chosen to participate in the Hope Gallery this year.
“Every sexual abuse survivor we serve fights to find their voice and heal from the trauma he or she has endured. It is inspiring to see the survivors take strides in regaining their confidence, support and safety, said Carden. “The artwork being displayed has been created by some of our child survivors of sexual abuse and rape. For some of the canvases, you can see the struggle and on many, you can see the hope. Silverleaf, and the kids who created the art, are proud to share their story.”
The Hope Gallery has previously displayed artwork from students with Maryhurst, the Family Scholar House and children from Volunteers of America Mid-States Louisville Family Housing Services and America’s Freedom House Programs.
Beshear brought his and Britainy’s commitment to Kentucky’s children and families to the Office of the Attorney General through a specific four-part mission – prevent child abuse, protect seniors from scams, seek justice for victims of sexual assault and find workable solutions to our drug epidemic.
Over the past two-years, Beshear’s cyber crimes investigators have made more than 150 arrests, indictments and convictions of child predators.
The Child Victims’ Trust Fund in Beshear’s office has provided $260,000 to support statewide and regional child abuse prevention programs and organizations.
More than $160,000 in funding also went to support the state’s Children’s Advocacy Centers, including Silverleaf, to help pay the costs of hundreds of child sexual abuse medical exams.
The trust fund also supported the training of more than 1,200 prosecutors, social workers and community advocates on how to protect Kentucky’s children from sexual abuse. Currently trainings are being conducted in partnership with Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky to help 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.
The trust fund’s prevention activities and child advocacy programs are funded through private donations, proceeds from the purchase of “I Care About Kids” license plates and donations made through the state income tax refund check-off program.
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.