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The tragedy of Baby Jasmine

August 21, 2007

Re "After death of Baby Jasmine, skid row workers again ask why," Aug. 18

I understand that the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services must be held accountable for its failure to safeguard the lives of children. I don't understand, however, why we only provided two choices: the mother or the county. If a mother is impoverished and further ill-equipped to care for her baby, why can't we provide immediate support with health services, food, training and counseling? Why are our choices to make the challenged mother entirely responsible on her own or to take her child away?

Even if the department had intervened and the baby had survived in the system, both child and mother would likely be deeply damaged by that forced separation in the long run. We need to rethink our approach to child welfare and implement a support system that expresses our reverence for the most powerful human relationship: mother and child.

Leah Sullivan

Pasadena

Why is it not required that any minor child found to be homeless or on skid row become, immediately, a ward of child protective services? What is done with the child should not be left to the judgment of social workers. They should not be placed in the position of having to make life-or-death decisions about children's welfare, regardless of their expertise or lack thereof.

Gene Gustavson

Glendale

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