NJ For Change

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Turn Ft. Monmouth into a Milton Hershey Style Campus for Foster Children

Milston Hershey SchoolNew Jersey's child-welfare system is such a mess that it is under a court-ordered reform edict. Two and a half years and an additional $345 million later, the court-appointed panel charged with monitoring the system's reform effort reports New Jersey's child welfare system is digressing.

"Indeed, in some areas where prior shortcomings could be explained in part by the amount of time needed to lay the groundwork for future improvements, the record compiled from July through December is particularly disappointing," the report says.

"Before we ask for one more penny, we need some solid evidence, some solid plans," Assemblyman Joseph Cryan, D-Union, chairman of the Assembly Human Services Committee said Monday. Cryan, also the state Democratic Party chairman and a budget committee member, called the numbers "disastrous" and "staggering."

Our elected leaders are constantly expressing shock and surprise as state programs one by one are found to be ineffective, bloated and broke. As far as I’m concerned the problem is the money spent does not reach the people we are trying to help.

Hershey HomeIf we really want to help foster children we would spend our money running facilities like the Milton Hershey School. There children live in nice homes, each with 8-12 kids, overseen by a married couple who act as house parents. Children receive a quality education, excellent medical care and live in a safe, nurturing environment.

As the state decides what is to become of Fort Monmouth, why not convert that beautiful compound into a Milton Hershey type sanctuary for New Jersey’s orphaned, abused and neglected kids. It may not be the total answer to our child welfare needs, but it could be a great place for children needing long term care by the state.

Ft. MonmouthWith more kids in a central location, money could be better spent on the children rather than on foster parents and child welfare agents shuttling from one foster home to another for a quick visit. A hit and miss proposition at best.

Rather than separating siblings in separate foster homes, bothers and sisters could live together in one home. The state would be better able to provide quality services and monitor the progress and welfare of each child living on the campus.

Why not study the success of the Milton Hershey School and see if a similar program could be adapted for New Jersey’s foster children using the Fort Monmouth campus? Why not?
14 Comments:
Blogger Enlighten said...

We think it's a great idea and deserves serious consideration, even if not located at Ft. Monmouth.

11:46 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

"With money made from chocolate, Milton Hershey endowed what today is the richest grade school in the world ($7.8 billion)

"Who is the biggest shareholder of the $4.8 billion (estimated 2005 sales) Hershey Co., North America's largest manufacturer of chocolate? A K-12 school in Pennsylvania's rolling countryside. The Milton Hershey School holds by far the biggest pot of securities of any primary or secondary school on the planet. At $7.8 billion its endowment dwarfs that of the second-richest (the academically elite Phillips Exeter), which has less than a tenth as much. Only six U.S. universities have endowments larger than this school's. "

http://www.mhsaa.org/article_61.cfm

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