Letters: Native American Foster Kids

Melissa Block and Michele Norris read letters from listeners.

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

MICHELE NORRIS, HOST:

And I'm Michele Norris. It's time now for your letters, and our inbox was overwhelmed by reaction to yesterday's investigation on Native American children in foster care. Earlier this hour, we heard the second part of Laura Sullivan's report.

BLOCK: The first part of the story explored a disturbing trend in South Dakota. Even though Indian children are just 15 percent of the state's population, they make up more than half of the kids in foster care. Federal law requires Indian children to be placed with relatives or within their tribe, but that seems to happen only rarely.

NORRIS: This story is, by far, the most moving piece of journalism I've ever heard, that from Colin Cummings of Amarillo, Texas.

BLOCK: Martha Wewer of Holly Springs, North Carolina, writes this: I raced out to the car after work to make sure I didn't miss this piece. By the time I made it to day care to pick up my 10-month-old daughter, I was sobbing. Thank you so much for telling this story.

NORRIS: Not every email came with praise. Michael Monahan of Tacoma, Washington, writes this: While some of the tales were no doubt abominable, such as a child being forced by her foster parents to wear urine-stained underwear on her head, I felt that Laura Sullivan went out of her way to paint South Dakota's Social Services Department as the bad guy in the whole mess.

BLOCK: Still, most of our mail was like this, from Jane Sharp of Takoma Park, Maryland: Tonight, I sat in the parking lot of my apartment building listening to your story on Native American children long after I had arrived home. As I walked into the building after the story was over, I greeted two of my neighbors just coming in behind me from the parking lot. I said hi and explained that I was crying because I had just heard this terribly sad story on NPR. Oh, we were sitting in the car listening to that, too, they said.

NORRIS: Thanks to all of you for listening and for letting us know what you think. You can write to us by visiting npr.org, click on Contact Us.

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