Foster CareGeorgia Corso accuses Andrew Bard Schmookler in...


September 13, 1993

Foster Care

Georgia Corso accuses Andrew Bard Schmookler in your August 30 letters column of missing the point in the DeBoer/Schmidt case: ''Each case waits its turn to be heard and each case is equally important to the courts.'' Ms. Corso got the point but missed the mark.

Children experience time differently from adults: Even a few days of separation from loved ones can cause a child great distress. Prolongation of this distress can lead to profound and lasting psychological trauma. Children do not have time for the courts to treat their cases as ''equally important."

Legal system delays harm hundreds of thousands of children each year. For instance, in Maryland, 1,300 children in foster care are waiting for adoption because their parents have demonstrated insufficient ability or interest in providing a stable home.

Maryland courts take more than a year on average to render a decision on petitions for termination of parental rights in such cases. This is only one example of how delays harm many children.

It is foolish and cruel for responsible, professional adults to maintain a legal system that gives children ''equal'' treatment when their need is greater. Children without permanent families are in jeopardy. Their pain can affect them -- and us -- for their entire lives.

Therefore, we need to fashion laws and rules that require that cases involving child custody, placement or adoption have higher priority in our court system. Had we such an urgent action principle, Jessica/Anna would have been returned to her father much sooner and with much less risk to her. In Maryland, the General Assembly has asked the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals to recommend action on family divisions of the Circuit Courts, which could coordinate consideration of such matters and reduce delays. We strongly endorse the establishment of adequately funded family divisions.

Iris Gordon


The writer is the chairperson of the Maryland Citizen Board for Review of Foster Care of Children.


I read with interest Robert Park's Aug. 29 piece in Perspective, ''What Went Wrong with the U.S. Space Program.'' Professor Park is a frequent and somewhat tedious critic of the Space Shuttle.

So he attributes most of NASA's problems to the Shuttle and suggests the space program would be better off if we kept the astronauts on the ground, spending our money instead on robotic spacecraft.

The truth is that human exploration of space is and must continue to be a key component of the nation's endeavors in space. We place men and women in space because exploration is an imperative deeply rooted at the core of human beings who cannot truly know something until they are physically there and who are not satisfied until they've made the journey. Human beings go into space because they are compelled to expand the scope of human experience. Such exploration adds to our knowledge. It satisfies our curiosity. And it responds to our sense of adventure. We go into space because we are alive and because, as humans, we seek to experience all that we can.

Professor Park's space program would discard all this. He would launch a bunch of small scientific spacecraft and gather a great deal of scientific data.

But exploration is about more than data. It is about human experience, about sending forth men and women to Earth orbit and beyond. The Space Shuttle enables us to safely reach orbit and return. It does not fly as frequently as we would like nor does it fly cheaply. But given the difficulty of going 17,500 miles per hour, the speed necessary to reach orbit, it works remarkably well, and will continue to do so well into the next century.

erence T. Finn


The writer is a senior policy analyst at NASA.


The Sun still doesn't get it. In the Aug. 26 editorial concerning Nicaragua, it states that Mrs. Chamorro "can't govern unless she gets rid of the Sandinista infection."

The Sun neglected to mention that the Sandinistas were voted into office in 1984 in an election deemed honest and fair by virtually every world source except our government and, of course, The Sun.

The Sandinistas created a society that won the Red Cross

Award for eliminating many diseases wrought by neglect from the U.S.-backed Somoza dictatorship. Nicaragua also won the UNESCO Award for eliminating illiteracy in her people.

The Sandinistas brought light and hope to the people, but our nTC government created a unilateral, illegal, relentless and terrorist war against them with the contras as surrogates.

The contras were and are savage, out-of-control terrorist factions spearheaded by officers formerly loyal to Somoza, deposed in 1979 after 40 years of U.S.-backed, bloody, oppressive rule.

The contra terrorists would not have existed a week were it not for hundreds of millions of our tax dollars to create, train and sustain them.

During their bloody war against the Nicaraguan people, they were not able to gain even one foot of ground or take a single village.

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