Sunday's Letters to the Editor

<b>Group home successes</b>

EDITOR: I appreciated the Close to Home article by Eric Williams and Mary Cone ("Foster care law isn't the solution," April 6). The reality is the one-size-fits-all thinking of the foster home law is unrealistic.

I have been a clinical consultant to a group home for more than 30 years. Children in group homes are there after one or more failed foster family experiences already. This is due to both the children and dysfunctional foster families. These children are severely damaged in ways that make it difficult to manage the expectations of family life.

In the group-home environment they find more focus on their success, development of identity, stability and safety rather than expecting strong emotional connections that are often seen in the family environment.

It is also the case that some of the problems are not going to be solved in six months or a year. Rather, they can be ameliorated over time.


Santa Rosa

<b>Aging isn't all bad</b>

EDITOR: I was deeply saddened by the article about isolated, older citizens ("Older, and alone," April 6). Not just because of the pitiful situations you describe but because you chose to describe them, and that's all. Your focus on hopelessness and helplessness only supports the attitude that holds this cultural mind-set in place. And, to a real extent, an attitude that actually contributes to the misery you describe.

I believe that aging is a gift. And I also know it isn't an easy one to unwrap. There are many among us who are working to change our situation, and the change must begin with rethinking our attitude toward old age. Although I am almost 79, with few resources, cannot drive and spend a lot of time alone, I find old age to be the most rewarding and constructive time of my life.

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