Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 10, 2005

Audit reveals deadly dangers in foster care

Thanks to The Sun for spotlighting the findings of a recent child welfare audit that indicates widespread failures to provide children with the services they need ("Child-welfare advocates press for reform of Md. DHR," April 6).

One point should be underlined: Although some of the problems identified in foster care won't be life-threatening - perhaps life-blighting, but not fatal - others are indeed dangerous to children's very survival.

For example, in about one-third of cases, there was no evidence that the required criminal background checks for adults living in a home with foster children had been performed.

In nearly one-third of cases, there was no documentation of monthly face-to-face meetings between social services caseworkers and foster children.

And in more than one-third of cases, there was no evidence that caseworkers were seeing the foster child in the home in which he or she had been placed at least every three months.

Lapses like these can be the difference between life and death.

Sharon Rubinstein

Baltimore

The writer is communications director for Advocates for Children and Youth.

Anti-war message misses real story

Kim Finch's Annapolis sign notes the 1,492 dead, 10,968 wounded and $156 billion spent in the war in Iraq ("Arundel woman's anti-war message quiet but visible," April 6).

But she has forgotten what Paul Harvey used to call "the rest of the story."

Iraq - 23 million people liberated from a tyrannical maniac.

Afghanistan - 28 million free from a life of torture and worse.

The world's population, and our own sweet liberty, that much safer.

I lost a brother in Operation Desert Storm. So I know that, yes, there are costly sacrifices. But the return for such great sacrifice - the sweet breath of liberty - is worth the investment.

Thank an American soldier or veteran today.

Don Schaefer

Halethorpe

Skin-tone bias part of slavery's legacy

In his column "Drama reveals black America's bigotry within" (April 5), Michael Olesker states that the skin-tone bias within the black community "comes out of a cruel and idiotic American mindset that long ago decreed light skin the measure of all human beauty. It goes back to years when one African-American calling another `black' was considered a blood libel and black publications carried endless advertisements for skin lighteners."

But at no point in the column did Mr. Olesker note that the skin-tone bias is actually a heritage of slavery - under which dark-skin slaves were typically assigned to the fields and those with light skin to the house, because the light-skin slaves were typically the white slave-owner's offspring, often conceived as a result of the slave-owner's rape of his female slaves.

In short, although the politics of skin color within the black community are unjust, such politics are not simply manifestations of an "idiotic" or arbitrary mindset, as Mr. Olesker suggests.

Rather, they are the strange fruit of racist laws and cruel practices seeded in the violent fields of slavery and rape.

Linda Gorham

Baltimore

The writer is a developmental psychologist.

No reason to extend daylight-saving time

I read with dismay about a congressional committee approving an amendment to extend daylight-saving time by two months ("Energy bill would extend daylight-saving time," April 7). I do not understand what lawmakers hope to gain by this extension.

There are only so many hours of daylight in the winter, and moving them from one end of the day to another would make little difference.

My daughter already gets up and gets on the bus for school in the dark. If these lawmakers have their way, she would get to school in the dark also.

It takes as much electricity to light the dark morning hours as it does to light the evening hours. Early-morning commutes are dangerous enough in inclement weather without making them happen in the darkness.

Unless lawmakers can actually find a way to add an hour of daylight, playing around with the clocks is just a waste of time.

Christine Yeagy

White Hall

Don't blame church for spread of AIDS

The Sun's editorial "A choice and a challenge" (April 5) notes the situation "in Africa, where church opposition to contraceptives runs counter to the public health needs of millions facing the AIDS pandemic."

This is like saying that the church is blocking help to those in need.

But it is not the church's opposition to contraceptives that promotes the situation. Rather, it is a behavior problem that causes the suffering.

The church has always had a solution to the situation; it is called abstinence.

The church is not responsible for the situation, and through various agencies is trying to abate the spread of disease and relieve the suffering of those so afflicted.

Stanley G. Piet

Bel Air

Pope promoted moral solutions

Susan Reimer's column "Pope admired if views not always shared" (April 5) contained one nugget of wisdom few in the media have really examined or fully explored.

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