Monday, March 21, 2011

"Weak Oversight" of Adoption Agencies Explored

The Atlanta Journal Constitution explores "weak oversight" of the 336 private agencies involved in adoption in Georgia:
She was 24, a fair-skinned, curly haired brunette from California’s San Joaquin Valley. She quit school after the 11th grade but wanted to go back to become a teacher or maybe a corrections officer. She said she liked “shopping, swimming, going out.” Her favorite food: Mexican. Her favorite places: the mountains and the beach.

She smoked while she was pregnant.

For Krista and Luis Arduz, she represented their best hope for a baby.

Early last year, the Kentucky couple agreed to adopt the California woman’s infant through a Georgia adoption agency. Like many modern private adoptions, this was to be a complex multi-state transaction, conducted mostly through e-mails and cellphones, Web sites and text messages — not to mention wire transfers involving thousands of dollars.

And the way it unraveled sheds light on the state’s weak oversight of the 336 private agencies that arrange adoptions and foster care and operate group homes in Georgia, an investigation by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows.

Just three times since 2008, the Journal-Constitution found, has the state imposed penalties against agencies that exclusively handle adoptions: two fines and one license revocation.

The newspaper’s review of more than 1,500 reports of inspections and investigations found that regulators repeatedly forgave violations of rules fundamental to safe adoptions: failing to check parents’ criminal records, for instance, or not documenting safe environments in adoptive homes.

Several agencies received citations for failing to show that payments to birth mothers covered only legitimate medical or living expenses. At least one agency — Valley of Hope Adoption Inc. of Woodstock, with which the Arduzes worked — was cited for having money for a birth mother’s expenses deposited into its executive director’s personal bank account.

None of those violations resulted in penalties.
Hmm, not very different from an investigation of Florida agencies finding weak enforcement, and, I'd guess, no different from any of the remaining 48 states that haven't reported investigations. . . .

3 comments:

Johanna S said...

First of all, I have been reading your blog for a while but have never commented. I have a 3.5-year-old birth child. I am so in love with the idea of adopting #2, particularly a hard to place child. But... I don't hear good things about the local DCF agency. Domestic and international adoption seem to cost over $20000. The news you just shared... How frustrating, wrong and sad... I do wonder where all the money goes. Why is domestic adoption so expensive?

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