Dear Bruce Caswell

I’m sure foster kids would be happy to wear second-hand clothing if they had dads:

State Sen. Bruce Caswell wants to see the state’s clothing allowance for foster children to be spent only at thrift stores. The Department of Human Services gives families an $80 annual stipend for clothing. …  “I never had anything new,” Caswell told Michigan Radio. “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.”

Eighty bucks! Woohoo! Undoubtedly those foster parents are running over to Macy’s and blowing the whole wad irresponsibly on one pair of designer socks.

The reality is that most foster parents are hard pressed to dress kids on $80 a year.  And that most of them spend out of their own pocket because the stipend just isn’t enough.

Anyway, Bruce, did you buy your own kids stuff from the thrift store?  Was your annual budget just $80?  How about taking your grandkids out to the Salvation Army for their yearly shopping spree?  Because we can see how well you turned out.  Fiscal responsibility and all that.  No time like the present to teach them.


7 thoughts on “Dear Bruce Caswell

  1. Is he aware that there are four seasons in a year, that children outgrow their clothes during these aforementioned seasons, and that many foster children transition to new homes with nothing but the clothes on their backs? You’d be hard pressed to keep a kid in underwear and socks for $80 a year (and, generally speaking, these are NOT things one can purchase at a thrift store). Wondering if he’s ever been responsible for the wardrobe of an actual child. Having once BEEN a child does not qualify a person to make judgements about this sort of thing.

  2. I wouldn’t want my child wearing used shoes. I spend a lot more than that on my child. We are about to start fostering and you can bet my foster children will get NOTHING less than my current child. And my current child’s wardrobe is about 800 a year. (which I hate to admit outloud, but seriously! and my kid does not wear namebrands! But I am frugal buy on sales and sell her clothes on ebay – which I guess would bring it down to 300 a year, but still!) I would like to see HIM clothe a child for 80 a year from Salvation Army. They don’t always have what you need in stock. Grrrr

  3. 80.00 will not buy shoes, if they also need sneakers for gym, and I agree with Mer, used shoes that are not properly fitted are not even healthy.
    I don’t have a problem with used clothes,one of my kids loves to get stuff from a relative, the other won’t go near them. but even used clothes cost more than 80.00 for a year.

  4. This might be the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.

    Our foster kids receive about $120/year in PA, which isn’t anywhere close to enough. Most Foster parents don’t bother because the reporting requirements to get the clothing stipend are ridiculous – no joke.

    Even with the money, we all scrounge consignment shops, outgrown sales, hand-me downs from friends and relatives, etc. It’s a solution in search of a problem.

  5. @Jenn — never mind four seasons, let’s think about one: growing boys can go through as many as three sizes in one quarter. I was lucky to trade my child’s clothes with another parent who had a child older than mine, but not everyone can do that. It rots me when politicians think they know better and impose their class biases on others.

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