As with any organization, there are going to be major issues in the outcomes they derive based on how they do business. Obviously, the worst outcome for any child welfare agency would be the death, injury or anything that hurts a child in any way. The second would be that point where a child is removed from their home and the vicious cycle of trauma is thrust upon them. Either of these are a terrible circumstance of a process that could lead to significant and long-term harm to individuals and families.
Until today, I thought other outcomes could be prioritized in a variety of ways. But now I have a third high risk outcome. Recently, an adoption that was finalized in January of this was dissolved because the courts determined that the case presented by DCS was fraudulent. Wow.
Being part of an adoptive family, I am fully aware what it takes to get to that special adoption day when a child becomes part of your new Forever Family. The fact that this special day can be taken away is unfathomable. The fact that any government agency would allow this to happen is unconscionable.
Other than equating it to a death in a family, I cannot fully understand the level of trauma that is now given to the child involved and the family that gave of themselves to adopt this child. The child must be confused, concerned and lost. Who really is their family? Why did someone put me through this? How do I trust any adult after that has happened to me in the last couple years?
The same thing goes for the family … or any future adoptive family. They put their lives on hold for this adoption and made a lifetime commitment to this child and now because of some sort of legal fraud, the child is taken away. How can this even happen? Where are the checks and balances? Where are the legal representatives for the families, the kids and even the judge as this takes place? Is no one paying attention?
Why do I write this column when it is supposed to be a blog about accountability at DCS? Since the first day of my writing I have pointed out time and time again the lack of accountability and the critical need for measuring the performance of this organization to ensure this accountability. Nothing has changed but the name on the door (from CPS to DCS). It is operated with the same veil of secrecy and lack of accountability. Because of the lack of meaningful tracking of performance outcomes at DCS, we are now in a situation where adoptions may soon be voided due to fraud resulting from this lack of accountability. Putting aside the incredible emotional toll this is going to take on kids and families, can you imagine the legal costs of going back and looking at every adoption for the past number of years?
I cannot imagine that anyone in Arizona would ever move forward with an adoption in this state again? How could you? You put your life on hold for this process and in a case like this one I heard about, all that hard work is dissolved 11 months later. I would never again recommend someone adopt from Arizona’s Department of Child Safety. The risk to your family and their emotions is too great.
Our state government should be ashamed. Every person in Arizona should be ashamed that we have invested way too much money in a system that operates so poorly and that in many cases does not even live up to its name of providing child safety.
Personally, I am disgusted, disappointed and embarrassed of my state. If this doesn’t change the need for laser focused accountability, we have no hope. And of course, we continue to lose faith in our government representatives.