ON MAY 2, the

Daily News

ran an article alleging that a young woman in foster care was coerced by a worker at the Department of Human Services into having an abortion.

The allegations were attributed to her foster mother. The next day, the Daily News reported that the young woman, her child and another foster child and her baby who lived in the same household were all removed from the care of this foster mother in retaliation for what she told the Daily News.

As head of the Senate Aging and Youth Committee, I wrote a letter to DHS Commissioner Anne Marie Ambrose expressing great concern over these allegations and indicated I intended to investigate the matter.

On May 11, I met privately with the young woman and her lawyer. In our discussion, the woman was clear and forthright in saying that the decision to terminate her pregnancy was hers and hers alone.

She was adamant that the DHS worker did not in any way influence that decision. In fact, she views her DHS worker as a supporter and advocate. I was impressed by this young woman's thoughtful consideration of this important decision and found her to be mature, responsible and deeply concerned about her future and the future of her year-old child.

I'm convinced she had strong and independent legal counsel in two separate proceedings related to her foster placement - where she said she is content - and decision to have an abortion. Honoring her privacy, I won't disclose any more information about our meeting.

Although my inquiry into this matter did not need to go any further than my conversation with this young woman, I also took the opportunity to meet with DHS worker Cynthia Brown and her supervisor, Sharea Paris. It was evident that Ms. Brown is a dedicated DHS employee who works hard and is supported by her boss.

I am satisfied that DHS carried out its duties in an appropriate and legal manner.

As a legislator - and as an adult who was abused as a child - I take very seriously allegations of physical, sexual or emotional abuse of children.

I have often been a critic of DHS. But in this case, I found the allegations against DHS to be untrue.

Because its duty to protect this young woman's confidentiality prevents DHS from defending itself from these unfounded accusations, I felt compelled to not only investigate personally, but also to speak out.

State Sen. LeAnna M. Washington

Philadelphia & Montgomery Counties

nolead begins

Post-Flyers agita

To the lowlifes that tried to steal my FOP emblem off the back of my car and ruined my tag and broke my rear windshield wiper in the Wachovia Center parking lot - thanks!

I got to enjoy a 6-0 Flyers victory for about five minutes. Keep the tradition of low-life fans alive. I don't know why I'm writing this - you probably can't read anyway.

Lou Dilonardo, Philadelphia

nolead begins

From Indians to Arizona

In a recent poll, the public was asked about Arizona's new immigration law: and 55 percent said they approved while almost 33 percent disapproved, with 12 percent undecided.

This doesn't surprise me one bit because, after all, this is the same country that destroyed the American Indians and also supported slavery at one time. So it's quite obvious that they can support an immigration policy that they claim is not racist.

Carlton R. Manley, Philadelphia