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Outreach Team

May 25, 1988

The children mentioned in the article "Outreach Team Strives to Find School Dropouts" (Part I, May 9) are victims of parental neglect through no fault of their own.

Fortunately, there is a program which is helping to get them in school.

While reading the article I felt a rising sense of anger towards those mothers and fathers who are unwilling to assume responsibility for the children they have given birth to.

Many of these adults are lost and will continue to be so until drugs are no longer the focal point of their existence.

Warren Furutani and the rest of the Los Angeles Board of Education are to be commended for implementing this program. However, the problem calls for a comprehensive effort. More people like dropout counselors Fred Williams and Jim Goins should be hired.

Their salaries should be increased by 50% over the current $8 an hour. The city, county, state and federal governments must get involved in the funding and development of more programs which offer these kids an alternative to a bleak future.

Life for many of these children was already an uphill battle, but with the advent of crack and rock cocaine, we are witnessing child abuse and neglect on a much larger scale. Unless a 7 or 8 year old is being educated at home, failing to send him or her to school is neglect, pure and simple.

If these parents are unable or unwilling to make sure their children receive an education, then it becomes society's responsibility. Spending the taxpayer's dollars is of concern to everyone, but if we don't invest in our children now, 10 years from now we'll wish we had.

SYDNEY WILLIAMS

Los Angeles

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