A new state report blames shortcomings in state policy for a recent rash of severe abuse of adopted children, including lack of oversight of private adoption agencies, inadequate safety nets for catching potential abuse, and urgency to place the state’s displaced and orphaned children in permanent homes.
The report, released Monday by the Severe Abuse of Adopted Children Committee, recommends a list of changes to improve the state’s adoption system and protect children.
Twenty-eight committee members from the public and private adoption and child welfare fields reviewed 15 cases of severe abuse and neglect of adopted children, including at least one in Clark County. The abuse occurred between 2009 and 2011.
They examined gaps in the state system and looked at best practices to come up with the recommendations. Among the proposed changes:
• Enact regulations to provide oversight of private adoption;
• Track failed adoptions, primarily when a child is returned to the state;
• Increase required qualifications for social workers who evaluate the suitability of a home;
• Enhance minimum requirements for home evaluation before and after an adoption is finalized; and
• Establish an internal panel to make adoption decisions for children in state care.
Some of the changes would require action by the state Legislature. Others, such as the internal work group, are already under way, said Denise Revels Robinson, assistant secretary of the state Children’s Administration.