I-Team: Adoptions Pick Up Pace in December

LAS VEGAS -- December ended with a record number of adoptions in Clark County, with more than 100 children placed with permanent families.

In November, the county's Department of Family Services had completed 460 adoptions, far short of its annual goal of more than 800.

But rather than accept defeat, adoption workers and the courts joined forces to finalize 124 adoptions before the year ended.

Streamlining the adoption process is also a goal of a recently-formed committee appointed by the Eighth Judicial District Court.

Four family court judges, with input from community partners, are expected to examine the access to justice for those in the child welfare system, also known as the dependency court.

Specific issues include court case management, timeliness of trials and hearings and judicial resources.

Committee member and Judge Frank Sullivan said the court has yet to consistently achieve permanent homes for kids within 18 months, a best practice standard.

"The bottom line is, we have to get them done timelier, it's that simple," he said. "We're big, we have big volume, but we can't use that saying, ‘Well, that's too many.' That's unacceptable. We have to figure out what the problem is and how to fix it."

The committee plans to submit a report with recommendations by the end of February.

The state Supreme Court, particularly Justice Nancy Saitta, has also taken a strong interest in the issue.

She said she is keeping a close eye on the process to ensure that necessary improvements are made.


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