Homeless kids need stability
An Opinion Line comment implied that children who are not living “under the bridge or in a car” are not homeless and that USD 259’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Program is no more than a mechanism for counting these children. Children and families who are sleeping on the floor, couch or a cot in the homes of relatives or friends most certainly are homeless. They have no idea whether each night will be their last in that location. They have no place to keep their belongings, no quiet space to study, no permanent schedule. Lack of a stable living situation takes a terrific toll on children.
The homeless program promotes stability and academic success for homeless children and youths. Homeless students face multiple barriers to getting an education. Homeless youths are at high risk of dropping out of school, but through the support of the program, many are able to graduate from high school. Completion of high school is an immense feat when you have no permanent home.
I encourage anyone interested in learning more about the valuable work performed by the staff members at the USD 259 homeless program to visit their website or office. Volunteers are welcome, and donations are vital to the program’s success.
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As a citizen of Kansas and as a pastor, I believe that House Bill 2453 is absolutely needed (“Bill shields Kansans who refuse services to gay couples,” Jan. 29 Eagle). Private business owners should not be forced to do business with any group that would violate their religious convictions.
Liberal pastors are absolutely incorrect about their understanding of history regarding religious freedom (“Attack on liberties,” Feb. 3 Letters to the Editor). Pastors and church members who still hold to the truths found in the Bible should stand up and support godly legislators, and conservatives, who are seeking to protect our God-given rights. We should pay close attention to those who are not willing to do that – and remember that elections are just around the corner.
I can’t find any biblical evidence of Jesus speaking to the Sanhedrin or the Roman Senate and demanding that they make laws that conformed to His teaching. I don’t find biblical evidence of Jesus bringing forth lawsuits in order to force His will upon others. Jesus’ way was to speak to people, not for people.
I doubt Jesus could attend church at Westboro Baptist Church or at Hobby Lobby founder David Green’s church. And because He befriended prostitutes and tax collectors and spoke to Samaritans, He might not even be able to buy a cake at certain bakeries in Kansas.
Sadly, many American Christians don’t always demonstrate that they have full understanding of the Lord they claim to follow.
JOHN R. MAXWELL
If the Legislature passes Senate Bill 304 (Feb. 4 Eagle) and succeeds in barring cities from providing broadband service, are we creating yet another opportunity to wonder what’s the matter with Kansas? Our smaller cities and rural communities are already challenged, and to prevent creative solutions such as what Chanute is doing would only further the decline of a significant part of our state.
Indeed, any state with a sizable proportion of small towns and rural populations is, in the overall interest of that state, challenged to support creative approaches to alleviating this decline. Kentucky is a case in point. That state recently passed legislation aimed at spreading wireless and high-speed broadband service. In arguing for the bill, a Kentucky legislator said: “Technology is moving very quickly ... all over the world. And if we don’t keep up, we’re going to be left behind.”
Rural and small-town Kansas is already struggling, and SB 304 would only create more impediments to the vitality and progress of this part of our state. For the sake of our state as a whole, lawmakers should reject this legislation.
The Children’s Law Center staff members, in expressing concerns about foster children being adopted by older relatives, said that their center’s study showed that most disrupted foster care adoptions are due to death or infirmity of the adoptive relative (“Consider age,” Feb. 1 Letters to the Editor). I question whether this was actually a study or simply a set of personal observations based on partial information.
My observations during almost 22 years as a state social worker led me to different conclusions. The percentage of adoptions that disrupt is very small, and those that do are primarily due to the mental health issues of the child or the adoptive parent. The number of disrupted relative adoptions, for any reason, is minuscule. These odds are recognized by multiple actual studies and are codified in both federal and state law.
A very careful adoptive placement selection process, such as we have in Kansas, is critical to choosing the best available resource for a foster child. In order to know whether the observations of the Children’s Law Center have any validity, it would be important to know other states’ selection processes, including succession planning and the life expectancies of various populations within their geographic areas.
CONNIE J. MAYES