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Elijah Johnson

May 23, 1999

My heart goes out to the parents and family of little Elijah Johnson, the 3-year-old boy scalded to death in foster care. I cried for Elijah and his family when I read "Sadness, Anger at Foster Child's Funeral" (May 20), but I also cried out of feelings of helplessness and outrage at a system that would allow not only abuse but murder to take place.

It is hard enough for a parent to separate from a child at a baby sitter's or at preschool. You hear cries of "Mommy, don't leave me!"--the only consolation being that in two minutes the child will be running around, having fun. It is appalling that our foster care system rips children from their parents in the name of "protection" and may send them to cruel deaths at the hands of abusers.

I am sure there are many stories of successful foster care cases, but just one child suffering from abuse of any kind in the foster care system is one too many.

JULIE JAFFE

Westchester

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