Sunday, April 24, 2011

Second-Hand Children = Second-Hand Clothes

From the Michigan Messenger:
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.
I've been known to shop in clothing resale shops, and as a middle child had my share of hand-me-downs, and Maya gets Zoe's out-grown clothes, so I'm not taking the snobby position, but really?  Foster children can ONLY have second-hand clothes?!  I love "smaller government," "don't tread on me" Republican proposals!


Anonymous said...

This is just so disgusting I am not even sure I can comment on how disgusting it is. IS he implying foster children for some reason deserve less than biological children? Personally I think all of the foster parents and adoptive parents in the US should email this guy and tell him what an imbecile he is. And then he should be banned from the Michigan legislature as well as any future elected positions. Clearly he is missing more than a few brain cells.

Wendy said...

Agree with anon.

Amanda said...

This makes me feel so ill. The "when I was your age" explanation is annoying. Sure, we all have "when I was your age" stories about things we did without....but isn't the point to want BETTER for future generations than we had for ourselves?

He doesn't get that it's not a matter of being frugal or not. One can be frugal and buy new. It's making it law that if you are "this" kind of child, you must wear used clothes. That is sickening. What a horrible blow to the self-esteem of hurting children.

birthmothertalks said...

What a pig! I don't mind used clothes but to imply that any child should only get used clothes is just plain mean! How would he like to wear used underwear??

Wendy said...

Not to mention some second hand stores are a ripoff! I can get new shorts/shirts at Target for $4-$5 and on clearance for $2!

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Reena said...

Ditto on this guy is an imbecile pig.

I think a lot of parents use some second-hadn clothes for their kids-- especially when they are under 5-years old. Holiday clothes that are worn once or twice-- families with several kids close in age, etc.

But to say that certain kids can ONLY have used clothes.

REALLY? Call me crazy, but this screams to me another form of bigotry.

This guy is also a moron--
The majority of secnod hand stores in my area carry only 'big name' name brands and it is pricey. I can usually find better deals regular retail.

Anonymous said...

??? Besides all the arguments about why this idea is horribly offensive, I don't get how this saves anyone money. Don't foster parents buy their kids their clothes?

Leigh said...

I'm the Executive Director of the Foster CARE Closet in Lincoln, Nebraska and this just plain sickens me! I take in donations of "used" clothing and quite frankly there are many items I wouldn't put on a dog. I've been a foster child, an adopted child and now I'm a foster parent/adoptive parent. This attitude of apathy towards others, a devaluing of life is pathetic.

We have taken the Foster CARE Closet from rags to new. No, it's not 5th Avenue, but it's Wal-Mart. It's NEW SOCKS, UNDERWEAR, SHIRTS, PANTS, WINTER COATS, HATS AND GLOVES AND SHOES. Do we still take in the used? ABSOLUTELY! We have to, to clothe children in the foster care system with 7 BRAND NEW OUTFITS is not reasonable, but we do strive to serve over 6000 youth with 2 BRAND NEW OUTFITS TWICE A YEAR. The rest is donated.

We've partnered with KVC, a lead agency in the Nebraska Southeast Service Area and we've built a FABULOUS working relationship with Wal-Mart. By doing this, we've taken those dollars and multiplied them over and over. Does Sen. Bruce Casswell know that he could be getting taken to the cleaners with his staunch stance of "used" clothing? Does he even realize that he could purchase a BRAND NEW pair of shoes a Wal-Mart for about $12.00 -vs- a "thrift store" buy of $20.00? How about those shirts? I've seen shirts sell at the Goodwill for $3.00 and when purchased at Wal-Mart BRAND NEW it was a $1.00. Does he have a special place in his heart to support these ministries instead of investing in the foster care children?

Sen. Bruce Casswell, if you'd really like to look at how to clothe your foster children well, with partnerships and still INCLUDE NEW CLOTHING, please feel free to look us up on the web, facebook or just send me an email back.



Leigh Esau, Executive Director
Foster CARE Closet
or facebook Foster CARE Closet

Sunday Koffron said...

Thank you so much Malinda, for posting about this and standing up for foster kids! I am so angry that one of our state senators could be so socially inept that he would make such an offensive statement publically, I just can’t think straight! When I was in foster care some 20+ years ago I recall the yearly clothing allowance being around $300, which did not afford me or any growing child all of the clothing, for an entire year without depending on hand-me downs and donations; what this guy is now blathering on about is the semi-annual clothing allowance of $79. (That’s right $142 less than I had got over 20 years ago!) To attempt to legislate that our states foster children are only worthy of other peoples cast offs is unconscionable.
Please call, write, fax, email Senator Bruce Caswell and let him know we will not stand for this: Senator Bruce Caswell
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536
By Phone: (517) 373-5932 (517) 373-5932
By Fax: (517) 373-5944
By Email:
Foster children have no control over their circumstances; they deserve to be treated with respect.

Beth said...

This is just asinine. While I definately use and appreciate hand-me-downs for my biological sons, I still purchase new outfits as well. I do the same for my foster daughters. Every child deserves to wear a nice, new outfit once and a while and with all of the things these poor kids have been through, you think the government would want them to feel special, not like they aren't good enough for new things.

dawn said...

I don't think this guy is an aberration at all, but a particularly tactless example of all the outright contempt and hostility towards the poor, the working class, the middle class, women, people of color, etc. that is driving conservative thought and policy in Michigan and throughout the nation.