IL -- January 24, 2000 -- Citing
the need to help older wards of the state earn a higher education,
State Representative Gwenn Klingler (R-100) is designating her legislative
scholarships to the Illinois Department of children and Family Services
and the Illinois Foster Parents Association.
a spokesperson for the House Children and Youth Committee, also
asked other lawmakers to follow her example by giving their
scholarship waivers to state wards in their districts.
scholarships will benefit children facing the greatest financial
challenge in trying to obtain a higher education," said
Klingler. "Many of these children have no parents with
whom they live who are able or willing to support them in
their academic pursuits."
article in the May 23, 1999 edition of the Chicago Tribune prompted
Rep. Klingler to turn over her eight-one year legislative scholarships.
According to the article, Illinois gives its lawmakers $4.5 million
a year to dole out 1,416 state tuition waivers while only providing
48 scholarships to DCFS wards last year. There are approximately
2,000 children over the age of 18 in that category.
has been so much controversy surrounding legislative scholarships
over the past several years, not for the good they can do, but over
who is the recipient," said Klingler. "I feel there is
no better candidate for a scholarship than a young person who has
overcome the adversity of past abuse or neglect and now looks to
college as a way to achieve his or her dreams."
has worked closely with DCFS, the Illinois Foster Parents
Association and Governor Ryan's legal staff to create this program.
Director Jess McDonald praised Rep. Klingler for her contribution,
noting that it is a groundbreaking commitment in the 95-year history
of the legislative scholarships. "This is the first time I'm
aware of a legislator dedicating all of their scholarships to state
wards," said McDonald.
Director Jess Mc Donald joins Rep. Klinger
in describing how the scholarships will be distributed.
added that Rep. Klingler's contributions will have an extended reach,
because the scholarships will be aimed at youth who may not be eligible
for the Department's own scholarship program. Rep. Klingler's scholarships
will be made available to former wards who have graduated from high
school and are ineligible for DCFS scholarships and other wards
who have not received DCFS scholarships.
was joined by 80-year-old Gladys "Granny" Hubbard,
who has been a foster parent to over 200 children since 1957,
Don Moss of the Illinois Foster Parent Association, and Sarah
Baker, a foster parent from White Hall.
Illinois Foster Parent Association, who I represent, feels
strongly that Representative Klingler's plan is excellent
and long overdue, and we hope that other lawmakers will follow
suit," said Moss.
provide more than financial support for a college education,"
said Rep. Klingler. "They show our belief in the potential
of the young people who receive them, and they are investments in
our state's future. That's why I've chosen to give my scholarship
waivers to youth who've been in the state's child welfare system."