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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Meeting children's needs year 'round

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Lea Thomas, Clay County CASA and Host Home Director, pushes the swing at a gingerbread home created by Paula Walton of the Clay County Child Support Office. The gingerbread house will be raffled off Dec. 1, and the money raised will go to the Clay County Children's Unmet Needs Fund.

Many Clay County children fall through the cracks when it comes to having their needs met. Lea Thomas, Director of the Clay County Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) and Host Home programs says money is needed to help these kids.

The Clay County Children's Unmet Needs Fund was established to provide this emergency money but the bank is about empty. CCCUNF is sponsoring a gingerbread raffle Wednesday in the CASA office at the court house. Anyone interested in purchasing a ticket for the raffle may contact Thomas at 448-9035.

"The Clay County Children's Unmet Needs Fund is a fund designed to help children directly who may be experiencing an urgent need," Thomas said from her office Monday.

She explained that needs may include coats, school supplies, medical needs, clothing, food and transportation.

Many of these "throw away kids" come from divorced families and live with a single parent or step-parent. The splintered family may get by until the child hits the teenage years. Then, perhaps because of drugs or alcohol use or just their life style, the parent(s) can't handle the added challenge of a teen's needs.

When the home life gets out of control, a child and parent may need to be separated immediately. Frequently there is a lot of anger involved and safety becomes an issue. When children leave home on an emergency basis, commonly all they take with them are the clothes on their back.

Thomas told of one young lady who lived with her mother and, over the years, had heard only negative things about her father. She had never met him. When the relationship between mother and child disintegrated the girl needed to get out quickly. Her dad's home was the only place she had to go.

He lived out of state but readily agreed to take his daughter when he heard of her plight. The CCCUNF provided money to pay for the girl's transportation, clothing and food to get her to her father's house.

Money from the Children's Unmet Needs Fund goes only to provide for the needs of the children. Parents receive none of the money. Currently the fund is nearly empty and it's hoped that the gingerbread raffle and donations will replenish this much needed project.

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