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Jurors urged to donate daily fee

September 11, 2000

Jurors urged to donate daily fee



By MARLO BARNHART / Staff Writer


No sooner had the new jurors been told Monday they would get $15 a day for jury duty then Washington County Circuit Judge Frederick Wright tried to talk them out of it.

A program called Generous Jurors was introduced to the 100 county residents who showed for their one-month jury duty indoctrination at the Washington County Circuit Court.

"This is an effort to help the foster care program in Washington County, which needs funds for clothing and other needs for these children," Wright said.

Lauding the program as successful in Howard County, Wright said he supports the effort.

Under the program, jurors can agree to turn over the money they get for serving to help foster children.

Practically, the $15 per day paid to jurors in Washington County has often been described as lunch and a movie ticket. Starting Monday, it could make a real difference in the life of a foster child, according to Ingrid Backman, program manager for foster care and adoptions.

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Backman said foster parents aren't actually paid for providing care to the more than 200 foster children in Washington County.

"They receive room and board stipends," Backman said, noting the amount hasn't changed since 1992. If the child needs clothing, school supplies, special tutoring or has other needs, the cost comes out of the foster parents' pockets.

Marcia Watters, who sits on the Department of Social Services Advisory Board, told the jurors that the most needy children in Washington County are the foster children.

"We are copying the Howard County program," she said. "|t is working well there."

She said that when jurors get their vouchers and take them to the Washington County Treasurer's office to exchange for cash, they can make their wishes known to designate all or a portion of the $15 to foster children.

"I realize that it's asking a lot but the needs are great," Watters said.

Each juror who participates will get a receipt to use for a tax deduction, Watters said.

More information on the program can be obtained by calling 240-420-2143.

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