I am surprised that the article on Jean Vanier's excellent work for the mentally handicapped evoked a protest from Mrs Faux (January 24).
Her statement: "The reason the handicapped child or adult goes into care is because of some sort of breakdown in the structure of the family", is incorrect and indicative of a lack of appreciation of the many problems which families with mentally handicapped children have to face.
No one should make a blanket decision that such children are better at home or in care. Each child is an individual, and the needs of the child will weigh heavily on the parents who have to make such a decision.
One of the great worries of parents is what will happen to the child when, through death or illness, they can no longer provide the very special care and attention such children need. There are no doubt many parents, like me, who because they follow a somewhat hazardous occupation, anticipate the tragedy of a mentally handicapped child being robbed of one or both parents and then, of necessity, being put into care.
I have witnessed such tragedies and believe it is better for a mentally handicapped child or adult to be put into care while both parents are alive and well and before there is a breakdown in the family structure. Such children in care are not rejected; they are visited regularly, taken on outings and given extended holidays at home, while getting used to the
environment which will ultinotely he their home.
It is an unfortunate fact that there is insufficient help readily available for families with a handicapped child at home and because there is professional help and facilities for the training and development of the child's limited talents in institutions is another valid reason why a child may be put into care.
The decision is a very difficult one for parents to make, but the welfare of the mentally handicapped child must transcend the wishes of the parents.
My own daughter has been in the care of a community of nuns since she was 19, and it was a great privilege for me to take her to receive first Holy Communion after only a year at the convent.
When she was at home there were numerous promises from individuals and organisations of religious instruction, none of which materialised; she was in care when she received the Precious Body and Blood.
No, Mrs Faux, don't protest about k the article on Jean Vanier, but rather congratulate the Catholic Herald for publishing it and pray that they may continue to publicise the individuals and organisations who see Christ in the poor and afflicted.
I shall be eternally grateful to the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary for the love and care they have for my daughter, who is in no way rejected.
F. Mulvenney 10 Horton Avenue, Bedlington, Northumberland.