A COUNTRY EDITOR’S VIEW OF LIFE Being a 25-Year Chronicle of Writings by Texas’ Most Outspoken Liberal Newspaper Editor, with Irreverent Reflections on Lig, Nixon 6 Sundry Political Matters. Commenting on Vietnam. Ecology, Youth 45 Journalism, with Excursions into the National Conscience, Reminiscenses of the Depression Era & Tributes to Poke Salad. Country Pleasures & Other Matters. ARCHER FULLINGIM Edited with an Introduction by ROY HAMRIC institutionalization of children is harmful; that an institution is the last resort for a child needing care outside the family. Yet in these decades the numbers of children in institutions have risen by 20 percent. Social workers feel helpless to deal with the political processes so openly acknowledged in the Truan Report, yet they are called upon to sustain a system which perpetuates long-term placements. Faced with a crisis in the life of a child, lacking time because of heavy caseloads, lacking the range of services in the community from which to select the one that meets the child’s needs, the child welfare worker may have no choice but the nearest institution. Instead of helping the child’s family with the problems related . to the crisis, placing the child in surroundings which are least upsetting, the child is dumped, the family written off. The preferred solutionhelping the child and the family, removing the child only as a last resortrequires supportive services, seldom available. IN THE CASE of a child with a disabled parent, for instance, the public couldif it wouldprovide a homemaker and financial support to hold the family together at a fraction of the cost of institutionalization. \(Judge Pena acknowledged that it costs the State of Texas between $17,000 and $20,000 a year to Aid to Families with Dependent Chilprograms in the nation, and homemaker and day care services have never been adequately funded in any community. Never intended as income maintenance, AFDC is regarded as temporary help for persons who merely need to be put on their feet and back into the labor market, whether that market exists or not. Those folks who cannot were described as “feeding at the public trough” by no less than a president of the United States. Joseph G., one of the plaintiffs in Gary W. vs. the State of Louisiana spent 10 years in institutions in New York and Texas at an annual cost of $10,000 plus medical and clothing expenses. Louisiana’s Child Welfare Division returned him to his mother when the suit was filed. Joseph’s mother received AFDC for his six brothers and sisters, aged 2 to 16. Her increase for Joseph was $10 a month. Her total income to raise seven children is less than $2,500 a year. Although Texas officials helped to call the nation’s attention to neglect of its children and designed some exemplary laws to end some of this neglect, not a single one addressed himself to the question of income maintenance. While the Truan Report points out that Texas has one of the nation’s largest ‘percentages of children living in poverty, its prescriptions for poverty are day care, kindergarten, im proved education, job training and early medical screening. Income maintenance seems too politically explosive to be even hinted at in a discussion of remedies for poverty. That it is the children of poverty who are most vulnerable to the politics of social welfare has been well-documented in Texas and elsewhere. The system that sustains exorbitantly expensive institutions offers opportunities for political chicanery in the form of rake-offs and contracts in exchange for campaign contributions. As long as these opportunities are present, alternative ways of helping childien will be shunted aside and the nation will continue to need storehouses for the children of the poor. Setting rules for the operation of the storehouses and seeking alternatives to storing children \(short of giving poor willing to go. Texas has emerged as the reluctant leader in setting these rules and seeking alternatives. Some skeptics believe that political monkey wrenches will make it impossible to put Texas’ shiny new machinery, now still in the construction stage, into operation. The process bears watching by the country which has already learned much about itself from its member in the Southwest. November 28, 1975 17 For more than two decades Archer Fullingim was the irascible and outspoken editor and publisher of The Kountze News, a weekly newspaper in Kountze, Texas, which became famous for Fullingim’s editorial stances on everything from the quality of mayhaw jelly to the changing character of the national conscience. Fullingim used his paper to chronicle his relationship with the world about him, and some of his most memorable writing is found in his political duels, his reminiscences of early boyhood during the Depression years and his vignettes of the colorful people of the Big Thicket bayou country. At once iconoclastic and tender, Fullingim wrote in the great tradition of country journalism. With uncommon perception he praised the good and decried the bad wherever he found them while always maintaining an unflagging faith in the integrity of the human heart. 432 pages Illustrated. $12.00 HEIDELBERG PUBLISHERS 3707 Kerbey Lane Austin, Texas 78731 14111MIDINNIIIMINI14/111111MOINIMMINIUMINIMPROMINIIMMINNIDIMINIMINIIMMIHMINIDOIMMINNIONIMIN
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