223 Primrose Lane, Shirley, AR 72153
Shalom Weiss, Editor ~ Christine Beems, Publisher

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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 system.

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 GOZARKS BLOG


Until next time, we share the following good humor from a friend:


EVE: I’ve got a problem.

GOD: What’s the problem, Eve?

EVE: I know that you created me and provided this beautiful garden and all
of these wonderful animals, as well as that hilarious comedic snake, but I’m
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 ...


We pray for and demand the immediate release of all prisoners of the drug war.

Stop the Insanity



Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them.
~ Albert Einstein ~