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Generous Juror program helps youths in foster care

June 11, 2002|by KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

kimy@herald-mail.com

Birthday presents, prom gowns and field trips are things many young people take for granted, but for youths in foster care they are luxuries they might not always get, according to the Washington County Department of Social Services.

The growing need for foster care services in Washington County leaves little money for such important extras, said Ingrid Backman, program manager for foster care and adoptions for the Washington County Department of Social Services.

"They are the things that normalize these kids. They let them be like anybody else," Backman said.

One way people can help is through the Generous Juror program, in which those who are called for jury duty can donate their daily $15 compensation.

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The $15 vouchers can be dropped off at the Washington County Treasurer's Office for the program.

"If they serve one day or several days, they can donate whatever they chose," Backman said.

Any amount donated goes directly to a fund to provide for school supplies, athletic activities, tuxedo rentals, class rings and graduation activities, Backman said.

None of the money is used for administrative fees, she said.

Within the past two years, the program has received about $3,000 but that doesn't go far when divided among the 250 children in foster care, Backman said.

The Washington County Department of Social Services has newborns through 20-year-old males and females in its foster-care program, Backman said.

The Generous Juror program is a cooperative effort of the Washington County Circuit Court, the Washington County Treasurer's Office and the Washington County Department of Social Services.

For more information, call 240-420-2143.

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