To the Editor:“There Are Worse Things Than Foster Care,” by Naomi Schaefer Riley (Op-Ed, nytimes.com, Nov. 21), doesn’t account for New York City’s incredible reforms preserving families and avoiding undue trauma caused by family separation.The number of children in foster care in the city has gone from 45,000 — yes, 45,000 — to under 9,000 over the last two decades. In large part, this change reflects a recognition that the historical impulse to remove children from the homes of racially disenfranchised and impoverished families for the purported benefit of the children is often misguided and ultimately harmful to the very children the city is charged with protecting. For good reason, the Administration for Children’s Services has invested considerably in developing programs that support families to keep children safe in their homes and avoid separation. This approach often provides the best long-term outcomes for children. There is significant room for improvement of the system, but the solution is not more removals.Dawne MitchellLisa FreemanNew YorkMs. Mitchell is attorney in charge of the Juvenile Rights Practice at the Legal Aid Society. Ms. Freeman is director of special litigation in the practice.To the Editor:Naomi Schaefer Riley conflates a range of cases, portraying them as if most involve the worst forms of abuse. In reality, a large majority of cases are closely related to poverty. Poverty is often confused with “neglect,” a notoriously vague category.Ms. Riley is correct that drug use is often a factor, but it is misleading to act as if most of these cases involve dangerous levels of abuse. The overwhelming number of cases simply do not, a fact that is missed when cases are lumped together under “maltreatment.”Time and time again, as I describe in my book “Catching a Case,” I saw children and families made worse off by child welfare intervention. Removal to foster care is traumatic for children and often unnecessary. The families that are reported to New York City’s child welfare agency, who are almost always living in poverty and more likely to be African-American or Latino, need services so that children can thrive.In most cases, when parents are supported with needed services, children will be safe in their care.Tina LeeMenomonie, Wis.The writer, an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, is a researcher who has studied child welfare, including the New York City system.