For a little more than seven years, Lauren Chapin was America's perfect little sister on TV's "Father Knows Best."

But when her career abruptly ended, the child actress who played "Kitten" became a drug addict, unwed mother and prison inmate.

During her traumatic, turbulent adolescence, Chapin became a has-been at 14, married at 16 and a heroin addict by her early 20s. She spent three years in prison and bore two children out of wedlock.But today she has found solace as a born-again Christian and a high school science teacher in the small central Texas town of Killeen.

"In Killeen, of all places," Chapin laughs. "It's neat. I'm not their token actress. My friends here love me for who I am now, for what I do now, not who I was."

Kathy Anderson, or Kitten to her TV father, played by Robert Young in the 1950s comedy, is now 43.

Her once-brown hair is strawberry blond, her face angular and unfreckled, her childhood chubbiness gone. But when she breaks into her cheek-splitting grin and pealing laughter, the young Kathy Anderson comes through loud and clear.

"I tried a lot of philosophies before I found the peace I'd been looking for," she said. "But when I did, my life changed. There was a boldness that I had not had before."

Friends introduced her to Christianity, she said, and the religious experience transformed her.