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Klingler Offers Legislative Scholarships 
to DCFS and Foster Parent Association

Springfield, 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.

Rep. Gwenn Klingler
Rep. Gwenn Klingler

Klingler, 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.

"These 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."

An 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.

"There 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."

Klingler has worked  closely with DCFS, the Illinois Foster Parents Association and Governor Ryan's legal staff to create this program.

DCFS 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.

Rep. Gwenn Klingler and DCFS Director Jess McDonald
DCFS Director Jess Mc Donald joins Rep. Klinger
 in describing how the scholarships will be distributed.

McDonald 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.

Klingler 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.

"The 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.

Don Moss, Illinois Foster Parent Association
Don Moss

 "Scholarships 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."



Contact: Rep. Klingler, 217/782-0053

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