Orphans need more support

Posted: Thursday, June 28, 2007

This spring, with 150 channels but nothing on TV, I clicked to “Gavel to Gavel.” You know, that Alaska Legislature show that’s watched religiously by 350,000 “move the capitol” proponents?

Anyway, that day I watched Rep. Les Gara and the other House Finance Committee members discuss the need for increased funding for OCS and foster care services in the state budget. Gara’s professional and articulate presentation was loaded with facts and figures proving that more funding was necessary to provide adequate services for Alaska’s orphans. Rep. Crawford backed him up. And how did every Republican majority committee member respond to the information? With a stony face and blank stare.

Then came the vote on Gara’s item. Surprise! All the Republicans voted no; all the Democrats voted yes. I’ll bet Gara expected this outcome, as I did. But what’s impressive is that he worked on the issue anyway because it was the ethical thing to do.

Many citizens in District 14 understand children live helplessly at the mercy of their parents and society. We know society must provide professional care and services for Wasilla’s orphans. And adequate, effective services aren’t free.

Fortunately for families and the professionals who serve them, Wasilla will be getting a new representative soon. Let’s hope that person is a lot more like Gara than our last one.

Barbara McDaniel


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