LOCAL LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS
October 2009 Meeting: Foster Care in Arkansas, by
Shawna Weiss, 10th grade student, Clinton High School
"When it was all going on, I didn't trust anybody enough to ask for
help," Andre McGowan, past president of the Youth Advisory Board of
the Arkansas Foster Care Transitional Youth Services program, spoke
at the October meeting of the local League of Women Voters (LWV)
about his dysfunctional home life before entering the foster care
Lisa Dawdy, One of the Youth Transitional Services
Coordinators with DHS, elaborated that the Independent Living
Program coordinated by Youth Transitional Services works with foster
children between the ages of 14 to 21 who are or will be
transitioning into adulthood. Each child works with a Team made up
of people who are involved in their case to develop a Transitional
Life Plan to prepare them to transition into adulthood, be it
learning basic life skills, going on to college, find employment,
etc., and learn how to start living on their own.
McGowan said that at age 14 he began to see that his life was not
'normal'. He and his younger brother were being shuffled around,
often having to take refuge at friends' homes and frequently without
enough to eat. McGowan began to realize that they were being abused
and decided that he must tell someone, but at first he didn't know
who to trust. Finally, he approached a church pastor and explained
that he and his brother needed help.
Now a young man his early 20s, McGowan said that overall his
experience with the foster care system was good and that the
Transitional Life Plan provided by Youth Services gave him a solid
base on which to build his own life.
"The Youth Advisory Board I served on as president is a big part
now of how foster care policy is made by the Arkansas Department of
Human Services (DHS) Division of Children and Family Services,"
McGowan explained. He said
that the Youth Advisory Board is made up entirely of foster children
who make recommendations directly to DHS based on their own
experiences, and that this direct connection between the foster
children and the program
administrators is a key reason why the program is achieving success.
The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan multi-issue voter
advocacy organization which encourages informed participation in
government and works to influence public policy through civic
education, candidate forums, study group projects and informational
programs on current local, regional and national issues.
The next regular monthly meeting of the local LWV will be held at
6:00pm, Thursday, November 12, in the community room of the
Methodist Church on Dave Creek Parkway in Fairfield Bay. Trina
Jones, Tax Assessor for Van Buren County, is the featured speaker.
There is no fee to attend and coffee is served. For more information
contact local LWV president, Marjorie LeClair, 501-745-8727. ~~~
Van Buren County Current Events are now on FACEBOOK thanks
to VBC Justice of the Peace Jeff Pistole. Other FACEBOOK sites of
local interest include:
Also on the national FACEBOOK scene, we highly recommend joining the
Decriminalize Marijuana group.
And we welcome you to share your wisdom on
Until next time, we share the following good humor from a friend:
ADAM & EVE
EVE: I’ve got a problem.
GOD: What’s the problem, Eve?
EVE: I know that you created me and provided this beautiful garden
of these wonderful animals, as well as that hilarious comedic snake,
just not happy.
GOD: And why is that Eve?
EVE: I am lonely, and I’m sick to death of apples.
GOD: Well, Eve, in that case, I have a solution. I shall create a
man for you.
EVE: Man? What is that?
GOD: A flawed creature, with many bad traits. He’ll lie, cheat, and
be vain; all-in-all, he'll give you a hard time. But he'll be
bigger, faster and will like to hunt and kill things. I'll create
him in such a way that he will satisfy your physical needs. He will
be witless and will revel in childish
things like fighting and kicking a ball about. He won’t be as smart
as you, so he will also need your advice to think properly.
EVE: Sounds great, but what’s the catch?
GOD: Well... you can have him on one condition.
EVE: And what’s that, dear God?
GOD: As I said, he'll be proud, arrogant and self-admiring . . . so
you’ll have to let him believe that I made him first. And, it will
have to be our
ittle secret . . . just between the two of us . . . you know,
just woman-to-woman . . .
In all things give thanks ...