Back in January of this year I posted this link to the State of Washington Office of the Family and Children’s Ombudsman report from 2011. I believe the adoption aspect of the report starts on page 98, and detailed some incredibly disturbing cases of abuse. The Governor of Washington requested a committee to investigate, and they have submitted their findings.
From King 5 – Seattle station:
Report is ‘call to arms’ on Washington’s adoption system (snippet below)
The report suggests the state should:
- Strengthen Oversight of Child Placing Agencies
- Develop and Distribute “Red Flags” On Troubled Adoptions
- Track Adoption Disruption and Dissolution
- Increase Qualifications for Individuals Conducting Adoption Home Studies and Post-Placement Reports
- Enhance Minimum Requirements for Adoption Home Studies
- Make Sure All Home Studies Are Filed With Courts
- Improve Training For Parents
- Create Minimum Requirements for Child Placing Agency Staff
- Train Professionals Involved in Adoption Process
- Enhance Support Services for Adoptive Families
Link to the report is at the end of the story. The Severe Abuse of Adopted Children Committee Report – September 2012.
From my first reading it seems fairly comprehensive, and hopefully changes will happen. The first step is legislative changes in the code which is lacking, and I hope they make it a priority.
One of the findings noted above is the wide range of qualifications allowed of the people conducting home studies, including this troubling concern on page 13 of the above linked report:
“Particularly troubling to some committee members were accounts of unlicensed, independent “home study providers.” Although the final home study is reviewed by the court, these independent providers are not subject to either state or private agency supervision or oversight.
They also talk about the requirements of the home study, and that it must change from compiling facts to a true assessment of the family, and defines what should be mandatory, and things to be assessed to see if they should be included. They also propose requiring all home studies; negative, positive, or withdrawn, be filed with the court – this is a huge step forward for many reasons that I’m sure you can figure out.
Anyway, I think everyone should read the report, as it really drives home the point that we have to make sure adoption is done right – for the sake of the child. Far too often when anyone says anything about abuse in an adoptive home everyone goes into denial mode because the family jumped through all the hoops, they passed the home study, the court approved them. I do understand the wish to protect “adoption” but never at the expense of the adoptee. This report shows that there are gaps in the process of all adoptions; foster, private, international, and they need to be fixed now. I’m sure Washington is not the only state that could use the same scrutiny – and when you hear about an adoptee being abused – don’t make excuses – those who have gone through the process – should be able to figure out where the process broke down. That begins with talking about it openly and honestly – not pretending it didn’t happen.