SAN DIEGO — The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to direct staffers to streamline the county’s adoption process.
The Child Welfare Service’s Adoption Program was established in 1948. According to the supervisors, many of the policies in the program need adjusting to address technological advances and new avenues for sharing information that could be used to shorten the time period for an adoptive home study.
Board Chairman Greg Cox said the county facilitates about 400 adoptions each year, but there are several areas where the process could be made more efficient. He said county officials would use the next year to solicit ideas on how to eliminate redundancies and obstacles.
“We certainly want to place waiting children with waiting parents, and we shouldn’t let red tape stand in the way,” Cox said.
The update to the adoption program will include conducting focus groups that will help identify barriers in the process, establishing an Adoption Ombudsman Office that will handle complaints, and working to “rebrand” foster care in the county.
Supervisor Dave Roberts, who has five adopted children, said he was looking forward to expediting the time required to complete a home study.
“It’s this type of customer service and efficiency that I believe makes our county’s child welfare system one of the best in the nation, if not the best in the nation,” Roberts said.
The program has already been expanded to include more diverse populations following the implementation of Tribal Customary Adoptions and Hague-Certified Inter-Country Adoptions. A measure is in the works that would allow the adoption of non-minor dependents between ages 18 and 21, according to the county.
Staffers were directed to report back in a year to outline their progress.