LIMA — Back in the days of children’s homes with indigent children, grave plots were reserved at Shawnee Cemetery for indigent children who died.
With those homes now gone and revised practices aimed to better connect children in state care to extended family, the need for such plots has been greatly reduced through the years.
To that end, Allen County Commissioners held a meeting Monday with representation from Shawnee Township and Allen County Children Services to examine this arrangement and consider possible changes.
“These plots had been deeded specifically for the children’s home, which was located in Shawnee Township,” Shawnee Township trustee Chris Seddelmeyer said. “I couldn’t even tell you what year that home dissolved, but it has been at least 50 years. So this is about cleaning up a paper trail.”
Along with greater emphasis on keeping children in families, those who otherwise would have been indigent children are also receiving better quality health care than in the past, creating even less demand for the 40 reserved grave sites.
“There were two cases years ago where indigent children were buried,” Allen County Children Services Executive Director Cynthia Scanland said. “Also, with the connectedness of families through social media accounts, you’ll see fundraisers and GoFundMe accounts pop up to help.”
For now, commissioners plan to reach out to the Veterans Council of Allen County to see if there could be a use for the plots for veterans. Should there be an agreement, a memorandum of understanding could be drawn up modifying the potential uses for those plots.
“There are veterans who are indigent who could use these plots,” Seddelmeyer said. “That is also a process, and if we could potentially incorporate the council, that would give the veterans some place to go.”