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Heartless blowhard of the day? Senator Bruce Casswell

 
 
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 07:01 pm
Quote:
Under a new budget proposal from State Sen. Bruce Casswell, children in the state’s foster care system would be allowed to purchase clothing only in used clothing stores.

Casswell, a Republican representing Branch, Hillsdale, Lenawee and St. Joseph counties, made the proposal this week, reports Michigan Public Radio.

His explanation?

“I never had anything new,” Caswell says. “I got all the hand-me-downs. And my dad, he did a lot of shopping at the Salvation Army, and his comment was — and quite frankly it’s true — once you’re out of the store and you walk down the street, nobody knows where you bought your clothes.”

Under his plan, foster children would receive gift cards that could only be used at places like the Salvation Army, Goodwill and other second hand clothing stores.


Now I love a good thrift store. I buy lots and lots of stuff at thrift stores. Nearly everything in my house came from thrift stores or craigslist.

Second hand shops are very popular among the hipster crowd who are out looking for groovy, vintage things.

But this really seem incredibly heartless.

What do you think?
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Type: Question • Score: 10 • Views: 3,269 • Replies: 41

 
dyslexia
 
  5  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 07:09 pm
@boomerang,
well there's those dumpsters behind restaurants, that should take care of food stamps.
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 07:12 pm
@boomerang,
That's a Republican for ya.

I bet there are major corporations who would gladly donate money and gift certificates to their respective stores to the foster care system in return for the publicity. Why hasn't this State Senator think of this option?
0 Replies
 
Tai Chi
 
  5  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 07:12 pm
@boomerang,
Nobody should have to buy underwear second hand. Or sox. Or pyjamas. Most kids should wear new-to-them shoes given the way each person's particular gait affects a shoe. I shop in thrift stores all the time but that is my choice. Maybe they should all be made to wear uniforms -- the government could get a discount on volume <sarcasm>.
0 Replies
 
MontereyJack
 
  4  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 07:19 pm
I'd say turnabout is fair play. His colleagues should pass a rider to his bill--if the bill passes, he has to buy all his clothes at the Salvation Army, and if he ever appears in public wearing anything that cost more than $5.99 he must immediately resign his seat in the legislature. See how he likes it.

That's Michigan for you--good thing my parents moved to New Jersey when I was 16.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  3  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 07:20 pm
@boomerang,
Were they already receiving gift cards?
If so, will they be in the same total amount?
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  3  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 07:26 pm
Underwear? They get underwear? Is that essential, or can they do without it?
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 07:38 pm
I don't know how foster care funds are distributed, ehBeth. I imagine it's through bank transfer or debit card or something like that. I suppose the foster parent has the option of buying new or buying used.
dadpad
 
  3  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 07:56 pm
@boomerang,
There's so much waste in this world that I kinda like the idea. Not as an only or forced option, but as a gift card idea its not too bad. "New" clothing would be just that bit more special.
I'm pretty hard on some clothing and tend to buy "work" clothing at op shops.
@ 5.00 bucks for a pair of jeans, even if they only last 6 months, thats a big win for me.
I've noticed a trend here toward upmarket and boutique stores donating unsold or end of season high fashion garments to charity stores with the lables cut off.
Same with fresh food and vegetables unsold at resteraunts.
dyslexia
 
  3  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 07:56 pm
@boomerang,
the amount is figured on a total of everything, housing/utilities/food/clothing/educational etc. based on age plus it can be increased for "special needs" but the bottom line is foster care payment is a lump sum determined by the state. there are no "line-items" in payment.
boomerang
 
  5  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 09:27 pm
@dadpad,
I don't have a problem with them having the option to shop at thrift stores but I do have a problem with them being forced to shop there.

For one, I have a correspondent that grew up "in the system". Even when they're not treated as second class citizens they very often feel that way. These kids are often removed from their homes with nothing but the clothes on their backs. The selection of children's clothing at the thrifts is pretty limited -- even here where Goodwill is a multi-million dollar business.

A kid who has nothing deserves some clothes that fit and that are somewhat in style. The deserve new socks and underwear. They deserve a pair of shoes.

For two, I know firsthand what it's like for someone to find themselves with a kid suddenly in their home, living there, a kid who has nothing. We had a good relationship with Mo's other parents and still it was impossible to get his things. By the time we did, nothing fit.

Luckily we had the money to buy him the things he needed. He certainly didn't deserve less because he wasn't "ours".

We've spent quite a bit of time in therapist's offices talking about loss. While things will never make up for the loss kids feel, things do matter.

I think it's kind of shitty to begrudge kids the things they need, saying they only deserve used things.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 09:32 pm
@dyslexia,
But how do they get the money to the foster family? Do they send them a check or what?
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  7  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 09:33 pm
@boomerang,
When I went to school I was not a foster child through the official program but lived with foster parents/legal guardians. They were not wealthy and my parents provided no financial support to me or them so I was dressed in Salvation Army clothes.

I had a hard time because of the clothes I wore. Shoes from Payless earned me a lot of ridicule ("Riddel? What kind of brand is that!") and while this all seems stupid to me now it didn't then, and made my abject poverty (I went through a year of school owning 3 pairs of used pants and endured a lot of jokes about looking like a bum) a LOT harder to deal with. As soon as I had some money I blew it all on Nike shoes and a leather jacket that I hardly ever took off and as stupid as that sounds things got a lot easier for me in school when I didn't look as poor as I was.

Foster kids have enough to deal with without letting this guy dress them. Not having enough money to buy lunch, a haircut and clothes made school quite a miserable experience for me in the beginning and for a while I was involved in fisticuffs daily (the ice cream man eventually stopped breaking up my fights and just started selling ice cream at them).
Robert Gentel
 
  5  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 09:35 pm
@boomerang,
Everybody knows that new clothes can make you feel like a million dollars (hey, new socks can make my day). Foster kids have done nothing deserving of being prohibited from that feeling.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 09:36 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Yes. Thank you. That's exactly what I've heard from others.

It's goddamn heartbreaking.

This kind of thing does matter.
Robert Gentel
 
  5  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 09:51 pm
@boomerang,
I hear ya, this brought back a lot of rough memories (e.g. days where I'd just go sit in a park all day because I didn't want to go back to school in the same clothes and try to fit in while looking like a street urchin).

I'm not a vain person about clothes, these days I'm fine with everyone mocking me because I basically wear a uniform (khaki pants and a black t-shirt day in and day out) and usually wait till I'm embarrassed to go outside before cutting my hair. Hell this weekend I even went to Payless to look for some tennis shoes to replace my Jordans (I bought them as an adult just because I finally could). But even not being as afflicted by the desire to dress nicely there were many days where I just decided to do P.E. all day instead of being harassed.

Speaking of which, it's messed up that they make kids pay for P.E. clothes in America. I had to ditch P.E. till I could mow a few lawns. Incidentally, as a teenager even then I wrote passionate essays arguing against school uniforms, but now think they are a very good idea that helps level this kind of playing field. Some poor Costa Rican kids I know they really appreciate not having to deal with that at school and the conformity reduces other problems like bulling. If this guy wants to save money for foster kids he should push for school uniforms.
edgarblythe
 
  7  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 09:53 pm
When I was in school, I had two pairs of pants, two shirts, no undergarments and my shoes were wired together. The zipper on one of the pants refused to stay up. I know how those kids would feel in used clothing and they don't deserve such treatment.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 09:58 pm
@edgarblythe,
Dayum, I had it at least 50% easier than you did edgar!
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  3  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 10:13 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I can totally relate.... to an extent.

I grew up poor, with two older sisters. I don't think I ever had anything new to wear. When I was finally making some money of my own I bought clothes. Now I don't care about clothes one bit. I too wear a "uniform".

But I had something you didn't, and something foster kids didn't.... a mom and dad who made sure I had something to wear.

And that's HUGE. Absolutely HUGE. The HUGEST thing ever.

I know that now.

I know a lot of private school kids now. They wear uniforms but compete with their shoes so I have mixed feelings about uniforms.

Mo doesn't care much about clothes. I've taught him that shopping at thrifts is "recycling" and that's an idea he can get behind because it's such a big issue right now. Still, the kid is absolutely shoe crazy.
boomerang
 
  3  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 10:14 pm
@edgarblythe,
That's rough.

I really don't think that people know what it's like.
0 Replies
 
 

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