Whose children are they?

The popular phrase is “it takes a village.” For foster children, that village should include ALL of us. Youth in care need us to support them during this difficult time in their lives and help them to reach their full potential.

In the past year, Illinois has seen significant growth in the number of children within the foster care system. Currently, the number stands at approximately 21,000 children, and DCFS anticipates it will continue to rise. The pandemic has hit families hard, particularly those who were already struggling due to inequities.

While the child welfare system isn’t perfect, there are many dedicated social service professionals and wonderful foster parents who are working every day to provide children in care with loving, safe homes. Unfortunately, this “village” is in desperate need of more people who are willing to step up to help.

Foster parents have been unsung heroes for children in need during this pandemic. So this May during National Foster Care Awareness Month, let’s thank them for their selfless service to our most vulnerable children.

This is also a call to all adults – married, single, religious, whoever you are – to help our children. Consider being a foster parent and help nurture these innocent children, while also supporting their families. Don’t think you can foster? Then find ways to be a circle of support to a foster child and their family. Let’s demonstrate to these children that we care about them.

Mike Bertrand, Decatur

Roll up you sleeve and get the shot

I would like to respond to the column last week by Marilyn Wirth. She makes some rather outrageous statements, many of which have already been addressed. I would like to focus on her approach to the COVID vaccine. (“How I separate the right from the left,” April 14, 2021.)

She is holding off on getting a vaccine to see if others will suffer first. Public health does not benefit from this approach. In order to get COVID under control, we will need herd immunity. Herd immunity calls for 75 to 90% of the populace with antibodies, through actual infection or vaccination. Sweden tried with the infection route, with disastrous results. We can do it, with the plentiful vaccine that is now available.

Why vaccinate now? Are nearly 600,000 deaths enough? A recent article in a leading British medical journal points out that COVID caused increased stillbirths and maternal deaths as well. If the issue is the use of fetal derived tissue, use Moderna or Pfizer, which have not used this in vaccine production.

The local health department, the state health departments, the CDC, Dr. Fauci, and Pope Francis, all recommend it. All the Senators, Democratic and Republican, have received the vaccine except three, two of which have had COVID and the third says he will when he is eligible. Oh yes, former President Trump and his wife quietly got the vaccine before he left office.

In refusing to get the vaccine, the disease continues to spread, killing people and the economy. Roll up you sleeve and get the shot.

Dan Niebrugge, Effingham

Perspective is important these days

Recently, I was one of the earlier people to come upon the scene of a serious automobile accident south of Effingham on Route 45. It would have been much better if the accident hadn’t happened; but it did.

And it showed some of the good in the world. It showed several strangers stopping to help however they could. It showed our emergency responders controlling traffic, extricating someone from a vehicle, and providing first aid. It showed witnesses speaking with law enforcement to explain exactly what happened. It showed a young man having the courage to stop and assume responsibility for his actions where a less courageous and principled person would have tromped the gas, left the scene, and hoped no one could identify them.

It also showed a young lady showing incredible composure under extreme pressure. With blood running down her face and her leg trapped in her mashed car, one would have expected her to be sobbing or screaming uncontrollably. Instead, she was calm and composed with the presence of mind to call her mother, explain that she was in an accident, assure her she was going to be ok, and ask her to meet her at the hospital.

She then called her supervisor at work to tell her she wouldn’t be able to work her shift as she was in a serious accident and couldn’t make it to work that day.

I was impressed. I was very impressed.

With all the strife and division going on now on a wide variety of issues, it is all too easy to focus on all the bad things in the world and in our lives. The problem with that is we then miss all the good things.

My ask is that we all attempt to focus on the good things, let the people around us know that we care, and remember that we’re all just people trying to do our best.

Jeff Workman, Louisville

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