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Friday, 5 August 2005
Major rant
Topic: Homeless kids
A lady with 5 children came for clothes. They left a western state because of domestic violence. She was telling me she hadn't been able to register the older 3 in school because she didn't have a lease, utility receipts etc. to prove her residence. The schools know perfectly well the law says admit the child them help the family get paperwork. This has been the law for years and years...since 1996 anyway maybe longer. The local school system certainly knows that. I've personally given them what ought to have been a memorable bad time about it. yet we are still hearing this! They are punishing the child because daddy injured mama. Isn't it enough to leave your toys and friends and a lot of your clothes and come so far and be so scarred? Isn't it enough to have slept in a car fleeing for your life and for your mommie's life? Isn't it bad enough to be starting in a strange new school after all of this without being told they do not want you. Grrrrrrrrrrrr. I taught mom the words McKinney Vento (the name of the law that says her kids can come to school) and gave her a couple of names of ppl who are supposed to facilitate this and told her to call me if they do not immediately put the kids in school. I get so frustrated and tired of going this same round with this same school system. This is the system who told me in '96-97 that there were no homeless kids in their schools because you have to be a county resident to go to school here and a homeless kid isn't a resdent anywhere. David Davidsom who was Federal Programs Director for GA State BOE talked with them and they seemed to understand. Actually they understood that David was very prepared to make an issue out of it which could cost them state and federal$. Then 2 yrs ago we counted homeless kids from helping agency records and came up with just over 800. Even if there could be duplication one agency alone had helped 401. And I was still told there was no big problem.

Now to top off a long week I got a call this AM from a mom who has no place to live and is temporarily staying one county away. Great they have a school homeless program, one of the best in the state, the one I used to work for, one where I know everyone involved. So I call and what does she say? "Are the kids in school" No she needs help in getting them registered. "Oh we can't help they have to be in school"!!!!! And this is someone who used to work in a homeless shelter and is paid to be an advocate for getting kids in school. Screeech! Pound! Bang! I was really nice and explained again that it is one of the functions of the program to get kids into school. She finally said she'd call the mama while we still knew where she was. If I can find the mom tomorrow it will be interesting to see if she was called.

Meanwhile what makes this such a really big deal is that school is the one warm, safe,
consistant place with 2 free meals a day if someone does the paperwork. Besides which from plain economics a homeless kid excluded from school is 70% more likely to grow up to be a homeless unwed parent, more than twice as likely to join a gang or engage in other criminal activity and more than 70% more likely to be a school drop out than a housed kid or a homeless kid whose school is not disrupted. And where did I learn all that? working for the very proram where I was just told the kid needs to already be in school in order to get help enrolling into school. Something is very wrong with this picture.

Posted by caringhandsmin at 2:52 AM EDT
Thursday, 28 July 2005
Just a River KId
Topic: KIDS
Just as we were getting ready to leave yesterday afternoon K called really upset. Liza had called her earlier and apparently she missed the call but heard enough to know Liza was in serious trouble. she is staying somewhere on the river. She was hot, sick, desperate and from what K says she was also suffering from subatance. K called Liza's mom and was informed by another relative that Liza was not worth bothering about. "She'd just a river kid. What can you expect?" What indeed from a 13 yr old whose mom dropped her off up there and was too busy to come back and won't return K's phone calls. Aparently she has been there all summer, living somewhere near the headwaters, walking or hitching a ride into town from time to time, sleeping in the ground - and it has rained hard almost every day and night - bathing in the river. Eating - who knows what she's eating- doing who knows what (or sadly we probably do know) to get food and whatever substance was making her so sick when she called K. I've looked for her several other times but this time she is really wanting to be found K says or at least she was. K's husband went to walk the upper part of the river while we drove along the lower part since she had been near a phone which might mean she was near town.

He found her! I learned that 4 hrs after we stared looking and about 2 1/2 hrs after she had been found. For now she's off the rive, has food and a real bath and is in a cool safe place. Who knows how many more semiinvisable kids are living somewhere along the river. Someone told me about an 11 yr old throwaway up there. True? I don't know but very probably. Liza was a semi throwaway when we first met her more than 3 years ago. Staying sometimes with an elderly alcoholic lady who did at least know kids had to eat, sometimes with a neighbor, sometimes sneaking home while mom was out partying hoping she either didn't come home or would just not notice she was there, sometimes living home with mother knowing it and then there'd be another fight, another bf who didn't want no kid around, or one who wanted a kid too much in the wrong ways and she'd be gone again. I know of 5 different times protective services has been called within the past 2 years.

This would be a tragedy enough if Liza (whose real name isn't Liza) were the only kid like that but she isn't. River kids have been happening here for more than 20 years. K used to be a river kid which is one reason her heart goes out to Liza. Some of them are runaways, some throwaways, some are just short term adventure seekers, Jessie lived that way for months and so did her father on the mountain side above the river. Some of the kids work. Jessie did and helped support her Dad. 3 river kids worked for us at the resort one winter.

I don't know the answers. The answers I used to think I knew often just don't work. But we have to try again another way. So pray please pray for the kids whether they are living on the river, hiding out in town or living at home and hating it, for their broken families, for the smaller kids they leave behind, sor wisdom and that our hearts will never harden towards this need and our minds will not forget.

Posted by caringhandsmin at 4:23 PM EDT
Topic: Clothes Day / Helping
Every flat surface in the office has clothes piled on it. The wall racks are more than half full and more clothes are promised for later today or Friday. We will need them so please pray that they do come. This is one more reminder that this is God's project not ours. This will be our 6th Clothes Day and the first time we have attempted to serve all the counties in one place. Our new office is just one mile from the White County / Habersham County line and only about 10 miles from Hall County. Last year we served almost 300 children,teens and adults. Here are some pictures A couple came over Monday afternoon and helped unload the bags of clothes that were all over the floor. It was great to have their help. Other years I have been so frazzled by the end of the last Clothes Day that I was just about useless. This year we get to set up ahead of time. The washer at home is full and at least 2 loads to go of things that were stored and need to be freshened up. This is a very full week. Besides Clothes Day we have people needing emergency food, senior and disabled food needs, a special push for fund raising which means going out to see business owners who want to be sponsors, calls from other agencies needing info on resources for people they are trying to help, Calls from people needing help with lights, rent, medicine. fund raising is urgent because there are so many needs. Then this evening a call about a missing teen. Does anyone have a way to create some 40 hour days? We are trying to help a family who left here expecting good year round jobs elsewhere get moved back after they found the expectations were untrue.

Posted by caringhandsmin at 2:45 AM EDT
Caring Hands, an introduction
Topic: Introduction
For anyone who came here and is not familiar with Caring Hands Ministries we exist to be a practical demonstration of God's love. A mama whose child is crying from hunger or cold or from the heat has a really hard time believing Jesus cares about her. Once the needs she sees are met she can think about her spiritual needs and can believe the same Jesus who made a way for her to get practical help can offer spiritual and emotional help as well.

We are located in the southern foothills of Appalachia in NE Georgia USA. You can click on the links to get a look at where we are and at some basic information on our area. 1 in every 6 children here does not get enough food to stay healthy. More on that later. Malnutrition is also a leading cause of sickness, falls, nursing hime placement and even death for senior citizens.

This blog is intended mainly for ppl who know about Caring Hands to be able to keep up with what is happening but everyone is welcome to read and comment. And please if you know things that are working elsewhere to help people at an affordable cost or better yet nearly free or have ideas of ways to help please share them with us. Thank you for coming by. Plelase come back often. :)

Posted by caringhandsmin at 2:37 AM EDT

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