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Lance Helms' Death

January 29, 1996

Re "Child Welfare System Blasted" (Jan. 20), I feel I must respond. As a retired foster mother (16 years) I can totally relate to the situation in which little Lance Helms was killed and the agony of his grandmother.

We too had a similar situation, although the child was not killed; abused, yes. We had a great court-appointed attorney and five witnesses for the child. The father was a convicted felon, drug dealer, etc. He came to court by himself with only his attorney to speak out for him. Unfortunately the judge believed all the lies of the father and the boy was given to a complete stranger at the age of 3. I don't believe the father had ever seen the boy before that. We were heartbroken and worried a great deal about the boy's safety. After going through his father's drug overdose and death, this boy came back to us a completely changed child who acted like an animal. Fortunately for him an aunt and uncle came forward and took custody of him. We pray he is well and loved.

I feel very strongly that it is the judges who have all the power, but do not have the best interest of the child in their hearts. I say "boo" on all the laws, what about the lives of these children? Lance was adorable. My sympathy to his grandmother.

BARBARA CADWALLADER

Torrance

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