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San Diego County To Examine Adoptions Process

Evening Edition

Aired 6/18/13 on KPBS Midday Edition.

GUESTS

San Diego County Supervisor, Dave Roberts represents the 3rd District.

Chairman of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, Greg Cox represents the 1st district.

Margo Fudge, adoptions manager for the San Diego County Department of Child Welfare Services

Transcript

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors has taken the first step to streamline the county's adoption process.

Some people within San Diego County hoping to adopt fly halfway across the world. They are willing to spend a small fortune to adopt a child from a foreign country or a private agency.

Many prospective parents say the reason for taking such measures to adopt a child stems from the feeling that San Diego's adoption agency protocol — bureaucratic obstacles and unreturned phone calls among them — makes the regional adoption process difficult.

Greg Cox, chairman of the San Diego County board of supervisors, and District 3 Supervisor Dave Roberts co-sponsored a board letter that directs San Diego County's chief administrative officer to "implement strategies and take actions that promote quality assurance, efficiency and customer service for children awaiting adoption and potential parents approved to adopt."

"The County performs nearly 400 adoptions a year, there are still opportunities to make it easier for loving families to adopt waiting children," Cox said. "We shouldn't let red tape stand in the way of bringing loving families together."

In 2012 there were 3,511 children in foster care in San Diego County.

Office of Supervisor Dave Roberts

San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts with two of his children. Supervisor Roberts and his partner Wally Oliver have five adopted children.

Roberts has five adopted children. He's worked with the San Diego County adoption system for the past 15 years and called the staff in the Department of Child Welfare Services "some of the most passionate people I have ever seen."

Roberts says, "This is probably, in my opinion, one of the top things we should be focusing on here."

Nathan Fletcher, a former assemblyman, is the father of two adopted sons. He spoke at the board meeting in support of streamlining the adoption process in San Diego County.

Fletcher took his oldest son to a Padres game for Fathers Day and he says he was able to do that thanks to the "blessing" of adoption.

"Mindy and I were unable to have children and we've adopted twice and I think we all agree it has to be a very well-regulated process because we're talking about the health and the safety of children," Fletcher told supervisors.

But, he says that doesn't mean the process can't be more efficient and streamlined.

"As I went through the process, I would ask, 'why do I have to re-do this when I just did it a year ago with my first son?'" Fletcher said. "And they'd say, 'well, that's just the way it is.' We should make it better."

The County's Chief Administrative Officer will report back to the board of supervisors with recommendations for making the adoptions process more efficient in San Diego in 120 days.

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