United Way, family court partnership a winner

Published 9:30 am Monday, July 6, 2015

Last week, the Cass County Family Court department announced that it was again partnering with the United Way of Southwest Michigan to improve the lives of local children living in foster homes.

The United Way will be contributing $20,000 to the county court system for its Foster Child Enrichment Project, a program that provides items and other services for Cass County children placed in foster care. The donation is double the amount the service organization gave to the program last year, and will benefit 100 area children.

Members of the family court division plan on using the donation to pay for small necessities like clothing and blankets for children as well as larger gifts like bicycles. It will also fund children’s trips to summer camps and other recreational opportunities that will enrich their education and personal lives.

The program is the latest effort that the family court, led by Judge Susan Dobrich, has done to help the county’s foster children. The court has been a long supporter of the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), which provides foster care children with adult advocates who speak on their behalf in court, and in many cases serve as a surrogate parent or older sibling.

We support the county’s efforts to improve the lives of these children. In many ways, the children are the most vulnerable members of our society, lacking the one thing that many of children fall back on during the difficult times: a stable home.

Through Foster Child Enrichment Project, CASA, and similar efforts, the county has demonstrated a forward thinking approach toward the care of its foster children. These children are carrying on the legacy that Cass County established in the 19th Century, when Dowagiac became the first stop of the famous orphan train that provided homes and opportunities foster children living on the country’s East Coast.

We thank the United Way for supporting yet another worthwhile endeavor for our children as well. The service organization has been another long supporter of area youth, with such programs as their annual school supplies giveaway and their reading day of actions, where volunteers travel to local schools to read to classrooms.

We hope that this pleasant partnership continues into the future — our children will surely reap the benefits from it.


Opinions expressed are those of the editorial board consisting of Publisher Michael Caldwell and editors Ambrosia Neldon, Craig Haupert, Ted Yoakum and Scott Novak.