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Published: Saturday, 8/7/2004

Kids, families need aid from community

I was grateful to see that The Blade recognized the critical need for our community to better respond to the needs of our young people. Your editorial on the link between abused and neglected children and juvenile delinquency brought attention to this issue, and was appreciated.

I would further contend that the relationship between abuse and paralyzing emotional problems and substance abuse is perhaps even more pervasive.

The 200 or so young people involved with the criminal justice system is, quite frankly, the tip of the iceberg.

On an annual basis, Connecting Point serves more than 2,000 young people who have a diagnosable mental illness and/or serious alcohol or other drug addiction. Many of these young people, and their families, do not meet the criteria for abuse or delinquency, but they are teetering on the threshold of one or the other.

These are young people and families who are struggling. They are frustrated, tired, and too scared to allow themselves to have an optimistic vision for their future.

That any kid or family in our community should feel this fatalistic is an indictment of us all.

The logical response to this population, which includes youth who will one day be involved with Children Services or the Juvenile Court, is prevention: Prevention that is oriented toward both the parents and the youth, prevention that is adequately funded, and prevention that is provided by professionals on a consistent and long-term basis.

Unfortunately, prevention services are very difficult to fund. Available dollars are understandably targeted first for citizens who exhibit clear and profound need.

A comprehensive and adequately supported prevention plan that addresses child abuse, teen pregnancy, substance abuse, mental illness, delinquency, and academic success may not appear to be our most urgent need, but it is our wisest.

Jeffrey Deckebach, CEO

Connecting Point Inc.

Cherry Street

I cannot understand how the Sylvania School District can eliminate teachers from a program that is so helpful for students who are learning English. I am a retired teacher from another school district who has seen how much these children profit from the help and support of these teachers. From my experience, I know that classroom teachers do not have the time necessary to give these students all that they need.

I am a property owner and taxpayer in the Sylvania School District, and although on a fixed income, I have always voted for the school levies. This time, I cannot approve of the decisions made by the school board and administration.


Pine Creek Drive

A July 26 letter about people who are anti-abortion but support the death penalty said: "Let me clear up his confusion, it's really pretty simple, I believe in not killing innocent life." I'm pretty sure the commandment says "Thou shalt not kill," not "Thou shalt not kill innocent lives, but go ahead and kill the not so innocent ones."

Jennifer Pasztor


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