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OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF WEST VIRGINIA

William J. Ihlenfeld, II
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY


1125 Chapline Street, Federal Building, Suite 3000 ● Wheeling, WV 26003
(304) 234-0100 ● Contact: Fawn E. Thomas, Public Affairs Specialist

 

October 21, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

United States Attorney’s Office Joins “Carry On” Campaign

WHEELING, WEST VIRGINIA — United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II, announced today that the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of West Virginia is joining other area law enforcement and child advocacy organizations to sponsor the “Carry On” Campaign, a statewide collaborative effort aimed at assisting children in West Virginia’s foster care system. The goal of the campaign, as originally envisioned by Mission West Virginia, Inc., a non-profit social service organization based in Hurricane, West Virginia, is to provide luggage for children moving to and from foster homes. Many of these children have nothing more than a plastic garbage bag in which to carry the few clothes and belongings they may be taking with them as they move between residences. Currently there are upward of 4,000 children in West Virginia’s foster care system, and USA Ihlenfeld said that his office unfortunately sees many children who end up in foster care due to the criminal activities of their parents or other guardians. USA Ihlenfeld hopes that support for the “Carry On” Campaign will lead to the complete elimination of garbage bags as an acceptable form of luggage for foster children.

“A key priority of this office is providing assistance and support to victims of crimes,” says USA Ihlenfeld. “Unfortunately, many of these victims are children whose parents or guardians have been arrested on drug or other federal criminal charges. Often, these children are taken to foster care, and sadly, many of them have only a few, if any, possessions to take with them and no type of adequate luggage for carrying them. In cases where children are found in homes, or other locations such as hotel rooms and automobiles, where methamphetamine and other illegal substances are being produced, not only do these children often end up being placed in foster care, but they cannot take any of their personal belongings with them, due to contamination issues.”

The “Carry On” Campaign is seeking donations of new or gently-used luggage and duffle bags containing items which are essential for foster children, such as toothbrushes and toothpaste, non-perishable snacks, hair brushes, books, crayons, coloring books, socks, blankets, disposable cameras, stuffed animals and similar items. According to Ihlenfeld, donated items can be dropped off at a number of locations throughout the state, including any West Virginia State Police Detachment, various regional offices of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services, and select member programs of the West Virginia Child Advocacy Network. “I want to encourage support for this campaign as a way of helping these children and providing a sense of self-worth and some measure of comfort to these innocent child victims during their difficult transition to foster care,” said USA Ihlenfeld. A complete list of drop-off locations can be found at the Mission West Virginia, Inc. website at www.missionwv.org.

For additional information or drop off sites, contact the United States Attorney’s Office’s Victim-Witness Coordinator at 304-234-0100 or visit their web site at www.justice.gov/usao/wvn/.

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