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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

March 11, 2014 at 12:14 PM

Child abuse: Learning from past mistakes

Patty Duke’s guest column was a brave and courageous piece that addresses some of the trauma that can affect mentally ill parents who abuse their children without meaning or wanting it [“Compassion and hope for parents who abuse,” Opinion, March 6]. Duke offers us not a justification, but an explanation.

I can echo her arguments with some of my own because I am familiar, beyond what I would like to be, with what can happen in the child-welfare industry. Children can be removed on an overly hasty basis when sometimes more preventive help for the parents may be the answer.

This column by Duke is a welcome start to a needed discussion on when is the right time to remove children from families. She suggests that if the parent is willing to address their mistakes and mental-health issues, then hauling the said parent before a traumatizing dependency case hearing is more likely to exacerbate the very problems of a child feeling abused that were leading to intervention in the first place.

More compassion for all would prevent much future trauma when there is a willingness by the parents to learn from mistakes.

Tim Whittome, Sammamish

Comments | More in Mental illness | Topics: Child Protective Services, mental illness, Patty Duke

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