If there is anyone to blame for the marginal care children in foster care receive, I think it would be more appropriate to point fingers at legislators who routinely deny CPS requests for adequate staff/case ratios. Foster care will continue to be marginal because of severe underfunding for one simple reason: Children do not vote.

Pam Frye

Terry Greene Sterling paints with an awfully broad brush when she states "shelters are the last option--they are overcrowded, traumatic for children and sometimes harbor dangerous teenagers who might prey on younger kids."

It that sentence had begun with the word "some," I probably wouldn't be writing this, but the lack of that qualifying word speaks to an across-the-board indictment.

If you check with CPS workers, I am confident that, to a person, they would have told the author that the West Valley Child Crisis Center is anything but overcrowded, with two children per average-size bedroom and an abundance of play areas both indoors and out. While children may arrive traumatized, within a few days of being exposed to the love and nurturing provided by an exceptional (although very much underpaid) staff and group of dedicated volunteers, they are as happy and healthy as any other comparable groups of youngsters the same age. And our oldest child is 8, so the issue of "dangerous teenagers" doesn't exist.

Your article does a terrible disservice to us and countless other well-run operations such as Phoenix Crisis Nursery and the Crisis Center of the East Valley. We all rely on public support in order to survive, and the way you portray us, you decrease our ability to raise critically needed funds. The result will be that we would have to cut services and thus be unable to offer all the programs our kids really need. Your irresponsibility in this regard is disturbing.

How about having one of your reporters come and visit us and tell the other side of the story? Of course, that wouldn't be nearly as "provocative," so the likelihood of that truth seeing the light of day appears somewhere between slim and none.

Philip Barnett, executive director
West Valley Child Crisis Center

I was moved after reading "Fostering Sexual Abuse." I truly cannot believe the things that I was reading! All those careless individuals letting these things happen to those poor, innocent children! I was somewhat glad to hear one happy ending: the story about Jason and his present happy life with uncle Mike. Yet the emotional scars are still there!

I really hope things are improving. This made me so angry, I felt like paying the "predators" a little visit to teach them a lesson. But who am I? What could I possibly do? I'm just a 20-year-old student struggling with a minimum-wage part-time job, trying to get through school.

Oh, how I wish something could have been done to save those kids. I'm not from Arizona originally, and after reading this article, I'm glad I'm not. I would be ashamed to have originated from here.

Pascual Ygleicas III
via Internet

Rampant tax giveaways, decade after decade, sponsored by the business elite, enacted and enforced by the government, paid for from the public pocket, and supplied interest-free to the same big business elite are bad enough.

For New Times and the Flash to call this "corporate socialism" is way off the mark (Flashes, July 1). This connotation is a slur on socialism and is based on simple prejudice. Fifty years of propaganda can't be wrong, can it?

The largest single institution of any kind in the United States, larger than any other division of government, private business, religion or any capital pool, is social security, and virtually everyone uses it. It benefits many, many people. This is the underpinning of social stability in the United States and much of the rest of the developed world. Since 1936, this great nation has been a socialist nation. The entire 20th century is littered with broken societies and toppled governments that did not take care of the basic social needs of their people. The U.S. did not follow this path.

What you are deriding needs criticism. I commend New Times for great work over the years. But by resurrecting old, discredited commie-baiting tactics, you discredit yourselves. How many times did you repeat the McCarthyite phrases? Propagandist, heal thyself. The United States is great because it attempts to guarantee freedom of conscience. Remember?

Call what you criticize what it is. What you're talking about is a wealthy, corrupt elite lining their own pockets. Corruption at every level pervades our society. Children are taught the warped values of their parents, who themselves are maddened by greed and disappointment. And we all must pay to pray in the Central Cathedral(s) of the State Religion, which is Sport, where all our society's schizoid delusions can be played out without too many people getting hurt.

What you are talking about is a corrupt elite subverting the democratic process. Real socialism (read: social security) exists completely in harmony with what has passed for democracy in this country. Corruption should be opposed, and effective socialism should be supported. Real democracy should be the goal we aspire to. Commie-baiting should be avoided as the low trade that it is.

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