County looks to cut adoption red tape

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supervisor-county-sealSAN DIEGO — The San Diego County Board of Supervisors Tuesday unanimously directed staffers to look into ways to streamline the county’s adoption process.

About 300 applications are sent to the county’s Child Welfare Services Adoption Program each year, but many factors delay the process, according to Supervisors Greg Cox and Dave Roberts.

“We certainly want to place waiting children with loving parents, and we shouldn’t let red tape stand in the way of bringing families together,” Cox said. “This world needs more families that love each other.”

The changing population of adoptable children, including older kids, siblings and those with special needs, often requires different types of families other than those who typically adopt infants, according to Cox and Roberts.

Asking caregivers, such as extended family members and foster parents, to provide a permanent home also requires establishing different kinds of adoptive homes, they said.

Roberts, a father of five adopted children, said any future efficiencies would be a “true step in the right direction.”

Former Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, who has two adopted children, said that although the adoption process must be well regulated, there are many areas that could be streamlined.

“Children are often forced to pay for the mistakes of adults,” Fletcher said. “So we have a real opportunity to take these amazingly precious and wonderful children and get them placed in homes, and if your efforts only result in one more child being placed, all the work and effort will mean the absolute world to that child and to their future.”

Staffers were asked to focus on quality assurance, efficiency and customer service, which could include identifying specific delays, like duplicate fingerprinting for multiple adoptions. The update is also expected to include ways to recruit and retain quality caregivers, provide adequate staff training and identify legislative changes to improve the process, among other things.

The supervisors also called for a forum for potential adoptive parents to address concerns.

“We want to make sure all redundancies and obstacles are removed, and we’re facilitating the creation of adoptive homes,” Cox said.

Staffers were directed to craft a plan and report back to the board in 120 days.

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