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'She just needs somebody who can pay attention to her'

Light One Candle

Abandoned by her mother, a 15-year-old girl has been in and out of one temporary home or another since she was 11.

She's living now in a local shelter, but Jackson County foster care recruitment specialists are trying hard to grant her most fervent holiday wish: a long-term family.

She's looking for someone to grow up with until she's 18, says Penny Esser, of the state Department of Human Services.

The girl is a typical teenager, Esser says. She can be headstrong, but she also can be sweet. She needs a structured home where a caring adult can provide both limits and love.

She just needs somebody who can pay attention to her, Esser says. A single woman would be great.

Potential foster families must be trained and certified by the state. Esser emphasizes that the process, while thorough, can be expedited. A monthly stipend and a medical card is supplied for each foster child.

Meanwhile, the 15-year-old girl has other immediate concerns this holiday season. All of her makeup was recently stolen and she has no money to replace it.

It's everything a 15-year-old girl needs to feel pretty, says Esser. It's Chapstick, blue or brown eyeshadow, blue or brown eyeliner, lip gloss. Things most families wouldn't think twice about buying.

Questions about foster care and donations for the girl can be directed to Esser at 776-61209, extension 232.

Light One Candle is an annual Mail Tribune feature that focuses on the need of a single person, organization or agency during the holidays. For more information, call reporter JoNel Aleccia at 776-4465 or e-mail her at