Readers React

Making child death records secret wouldn't serve foster youth

To the editor: There is a term for the practice of government agencies and courts putting children in the hands of documented abusers: court-ordered child abuse. The recent attempt in the California Legislature to cover up this practice by denying access to records when a child dies of abuse and neglect is a step backward, and I applaud The Times for covering the issue. ("California lawmakers block effort to make child death records secret," May 21)

Too many recent news stories about children who have died from abuse also mention a history of documented abuse and violence in the home. Government agencies, the courts, elected officials and child advocacy groups need to work together to fix the system so the abuse does not happen in the first place.

Every year in this country, more than 58,000 children are placed in the hands of documented abusers. This practice has to stop. A child's right to live in a safe, loving environment should be our top priority.

Jennifer Kendall, Sacramento

The writer is founder of the Little Voice Project, a foster youth advocacy group.

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