Child welfare decisions aren't based on race
The Maryland Department of Human Resources does not use and does not condone using race as a determining factor in deciding a proper course for abused or neglected children ("Keeping families whole," editorial, Sept. 2). We never have and we never will.
The issue of disproportionate representation of children of color in the child welfare system is not unique to Maryland. Like many other states, Maryland is looking at practices to address this issue. But thus far, no credible national or statewide studies have revealed specific ways to directly remedy this systemic issue.
However, there are many new and promising social work practices that may reduce - across all racial lines - the number of displaced children.
DHR has already begun to implement many of these practices as part of our signature Place Matters initiative, which focuses on ensuring that every child in Maryland has a permanent place to live as quickly as possible.
Those practices include involving family members in short- and long-term decision-making, placing children with relatives, targeting recruitment of foster families who come from and reflect the neighborhoods and cultural backgrounds of the children in care, placing children close to home so that they can maintain connections with family, and developing an array of community services to support families and children.
At DHR, we are committed to developing and implementing a common and consistent set of principles and standards to guide our casework practices to ensure the best outcome for Maryland's children and families in need.
Brenda Donald, Baltimore
The writer is secretary of the Maryland Department of Human Resources.
Easy to distinguish McCain from Bush
If the writers of The Baltimore Sun's editorials would stop focusing on the buzzwords from Sen. Barack Obama's campaign, they would find it quite simple to differentiate President Bush from Sen. John McCain ("The McCain agenda," editorial, Sept. 4).
They differ in approach, style, beliefs and the ability to get the job done. Their only commonality is the R in front of their names.
Mr. McCain works for the people of this country and listens to what his electorate has to say.
In contrast, Mr. Bush tends to have faith in his own decisions and ignores what the people who elected him have to say.
Jessica Fugate, Towson
Smith's view of liberals is simply ridiculous
Ron Smith wrote this: "Remember, from the liberal perspective, a conservative woman isn't really a woman at all" ("Another woman enters the ring of 2008 electoral circus," Commentary, Sept. 3).
That is a shocking statement, an insulting statement, a ridiculous statement and a bewildering statement. What came over Mr. Smith to write such nonsense?
As a progressive, I would never question someone's womanhood based on her ideology. And I know of no liberal who has denied a female her womanhood because she might be a conservative.
A columnist should get his or her point across without slandering an entire group of people.
As a subscriber, I expect a reasonable discourse from op-ed writers. I hope Mr. Smith realizes his mistake and strives not to repeat it.
Max Obuszewski, Baltimore
City again a magnet for rising musicians
Kudos to Sam Sessa for an outstanding article on Baltimore's up-and-coming music scene ("When hype meets history," Aug. 31).
I had the pleasure of being a part of the scene in the early to mid-1990s when I played drums for a band called Laughingstock. We practiced at the Hour Haus on North Avenue and played gigs at Memory Lane. Where else but Baltimore could a band play on a stage that had a stripper pole in the middle of it?
And where else but Baltimore would local bands come together to save an underground bookstore, as we did when we played a benefit show to raise money for Atomic Books?
It was great to read about the terrific Baltimore bands of yesteryear such as Liquor Bike and Candy Machine.
Those were great times, and I cherish the memories.
I'm very glad to hear that Baltimore is once again becoming a magnet for musicians.
Richard Longway, Towson