To: Lynn M. Paltrow
National Advocates for Pregnant Women
I hereby authorize the use of this statement with my name by NAPW.
Dear Ms. Paltrow,
My wife and I are former foster parents. Our daughter, Erica, was
prenatally exposed to alcohol by her mother who has alcoholism. She came to
us as a foster child at age 4 with 14 previous foster care and orphanage
placements. She was severely socially and intellectually delayed due to
undiagnosed fetal alcohol syndrome. We adopted her a year later in an open
adoption. Erica continues to have a close relationship with her birth
family. She has now completed two years of college, has been employed as a
day care worker.
Erica has a strong sense of purpose, of being loved, and of how much she was
harmed by fetal alcohol. She is looking forward to a career with
disadvantaged children with who she feels a strong affinity. She is well
aware that the child protection system did not effectively work with her or
her mother. She recalls being shuttled among institutions and homes or
returned to an alcoholic and physically violent home.
I asked Erica what she thought of the the CRACK program. She wrote: "I
think that instead of sterilization, they should use the $200 to enter them
into a drug treatment program instead. They don't need to be sterile, they
need drug treatment. I don't believe it's right to use that money for
sterilization. If these women are choosing to do this, they should use
their own money. I am not an expert in this field, that is just what I
think from what I know."
I entirely agree with Erica's wise assessment of the CRACK program.
Fundamentally, CRACK jettisons mothers in a way that reinforces the larger
societal system of inadequate coverage for mental health and substance abuse
disorders, dysfunctional foster care, non-living wages to many, and
disgracefully low rates of access to health care for children.
Steven Miles, MD
Professor of Medicine
N 504 Boynton
University of Minnesota
410 Church Street
Minneapolis, MN 55455