Letter to the editor of the Associated Press/Dallas Bureau Chief
I am writing with deep concern over an Associated Press article from April 23, 2008 with a San Angelo, TX dateline titled "Texas tries to ease polygamist kids' culture shock."
My concern is about the mischaracterization of children in foster care as evidenced by the following statement made in the article, "In contrast, many other children in foster care have a certain worldly swagger, and are there because they have used drugs or committed other crimes." In an effort to compare children from the FLDS, the writer maligned the more than 500,000 children in foster care who have suffered abuse and neglect at the hands of their parents or caregivers. If the writer were armed with the facts, she might be hard pressed to explain the statement "worldly swagger" or the type of criminal activity committed by 40% of the children in foster care who are under age five.
The reading public needs to know that foster care is not jail or prison, but a placement designed to temporarily provide a safe, nurturing environment for children while parents receive the help necessary to be able to care for their children on their own. Foster care placements range from family foster homes, group home care and residential treatment. Children in care have been traumatized by neglect, emotional, physical, and/or sexual abuse.
You may not be aware of it, but the month of May is celebrated each year as National Foster Care month, events are planned throughout the month to acknowledge foster parents, recruit additional parents, and raise awareness about the needs of children in care.
I urge you to correct the statement as soon as possible and if you need further information to provide an accurate picture of these children, we are happy to assist you.
President and CEO
2345 Crystal Drive
Arlington, VA 22202
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