Letters to the Editor

From the week of February 1, 2001

Name withheld on request

Child's prey: For children's sakes, please correct misinformation transmitted via letters in the January 25 issue that responded to Julie Jargon's "Home for Dinner." Esther Cook writes that foster care is more dangerous for children than being left with their biological families. This is a common, mistaken perception. Foster care abuse rates in the U.S. have remained steady at .5 percent of all abuse for decades (NCAC, APWA). Almost 100 percent of children are abused or killed by their biological relatives or stepparents.

Cook and Richard Wexler accuse EPP of quick destruction of a child's family. The truth is that Family Preservation at the beginning of cases has never been so quick to offer excellent services and support to quickly reunite families. First and foremost, EPP is a Family Preservation law. This is balanced with the reality that a young child cannot afford to wait in limbo while parents decide whether they want to do the work needed to return the child safely home. Waiting too long always causes permanent damage to the child.

Wexler touts the return of barbarous laws in place before the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997. Yet under those laws, which pushed Family Preservation and Reunification above child protection, almost half of all children who died at the hands of their caretakers died after social services intervention. They were sent home or left home by social workers and then died. Over half of these dead babies were under the age of one, and about 80 percent of these dead children were under age five. It would be shameful to go back to such cruel, so-called "child protection."

Wexler and Cook, and all who believe as they do, need to do two things. First, they need to spend time on the front lines as foster parents so that they see how very hurt children are and how impossible it is for many of their parents to heal. Second, they need to work very hard to suspend the confidentiality requirements of the child protection system, so that its function is open to public scrutiny. Only in this way can the reality of very hurt children, parents who don't heal and some poor practices bring change to public misperception and improvements for families and children.

Adoree Blair

Over the Rainbow

The Lunch bunch: Regarding Steve Jackson's "The Next Stage," in the January 25 issue:

In the early '80s, the Kamikazi Klones were the undisputed kings of Denver's original music makers. At that time my band, Lunch, played second fiddle to the Klones on the many occasions that we shared the bill with our good friends Jimy Murphy, A.J., the Marks, et al. We had some great times together. Glad to see Jimy's still a part of the region's creative element.

Tim Whitlock

Of Tree I Sing

Trickle-down economics: Just finished reading Jonathan Shikes's January 25 "It's a Jungle Out There," about the "forests" in Denver. Coincidentally, I also happened to pull the November 2, 2000, edition of Westword from a pile that had missed the recycling bin and reread Stuart Steers's article about the grandiose plans of Denver planners regarding where we were going to put an additional 100,000 people.

To the best of my recollection, there was not one mention of water supply in either piece. Coming from Ohio, I like trees. I love trees. I don't hug them, but I admire and respect the function they serve. I have never understood people who cut trees to clear their property (unless there was imminent danger from a decayed or dead tree). I believe a mature tree pumps about five pounds of oxygen into the atmosphere per day. Hell, the air's thin enough as it is -- why not let some additional oxygen waft through the neighborhood?

Actually, the 30 to 40 percent coverage does make sense. But I question some of the practices of developers and major corporations in their office parks like the Tech Center and Interlocken, to name only two. It is really necessary to have such large expanses of bluegrass or other grass mixtures and to water those huge expanses to ensure they are green? Companies moving in from the Northwest, Northeast, South and other points with substantial annual rainfall seem to believe the myth that we are all created equal when it comes to water supply. Not so! Couple this with our anticipated growth of 100,000 more souls, and the color green (excluding money) may become a rare sight indeed. Excluding a major natural disaster, our official disregard for water and its uses could render the discussions of growth, light rail, reforestation, etc., moot.

We live in the "Great American Desert," but most of us have conned ourselves into believing that this just can't be true. Summers like the one we had last year should serve as a wake-up call. While its effects will not be felt this year, what happens if we have a succession of three or four in a row? The only recreational activity we could engage in on the reservoirs would be in dune buggies.

Name withheld on request

Mexican Standoff

Sex and the single artist: Michael Paglia's review of Mexicanidad: Modotti and Weston, in the January 25 issue, was thoughtful and sensitive when he discussed the photographs, but I was disturbed by his historical ignorance, sexism and Cold War bigotry when he commented upon Modotti's life and history.

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