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Jan. 1, 1970

Maryland law bans trash bags for carrying foster kids’ belongings

New Maryland Law Requires Luggage for Foster Youth

A new Maryland law intends to bring more dignity to children in foster care by banning the use of trash bags to carry their belongings.

Rob Scheer was raised in foster care, going from place to place with his stuff in a trash bag.

“It happened to me again in 1984 when I aged out and became homeless in Northern Virginia, and it happened to all of my children — and I have five — when they arrived to our home, all of them carrying trash bags,” he said.

He succeeded despite his circumstances, raised five foster kids with the help of his husband and founded Comfort Cases, which provides backpacks full of items to be given to kids entering the foster care system.

Scheer also worked to get the trash bag ban passed. It requires new luggage for children when the enter, exit or move between homes in foster care.

Comfort Cases provides the bags to kids to make sure they have something to call their own.

At a packing party in Bethesda Wednesday, dozens of volunteers placed personal care items, pajamas, a blanket, a stuffie and other items into backpacks.

“I came through the system, as well, and I teach my children all the time, do not be ashamed of where you come from,” Scheer said. “Just make sure that we don’t blame the system, we help change the system, and that’s why we’re here today.”

Volunteer Sandra Anez Powell is from Venezuela where she helped at-risk kids living on the street.

“Here in the United States we’re very fortunate,” she said. “In places like Venezuela and Latin America, having organizations that will donate this kind of thing is not common at all.”

Comfort Cases has packed and given out more than 250,000 bags.

Learn more here.

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