Thursday, December 18, 2008


I have written several times to Indiana to find out how an adoption agency is licensed and if there were any complaints against them. I was told that there was no such information about adoption agencies in the state of Indiana by several people.

I am stunned that the adoptees, adoptive families and first families have no one that they could report unscrupulous activity. I wonder if these folks have to do background checks on themselves and their employees.

It is interesting because I read this article about adoption agencies in New Jersey. I am stunned that this is not already in place. These are people who deal in child welfare all the time. They answer to no one.

Here is the story.


TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senator Loretta Weinberg and Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, which requires employees of adoption agencies to undergo criminal history background checks and Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) child abuse record checks, has been signed into law by Governor Corzine.

“For children, stability and structure are important to positive growth and development,” said Senator Weinberg, D-Bergen. “When children are put up for adoption, and must move from foster home to foster home in the process, they come in contact with many different people. Through the requirement of these necessary background checks, this new law ensures that all adults that these children come in contact with have their best interest at heart.”

It is vital that we preserve the integrity and safety of our adoption process and our children,” said Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle, D-Englewood. “Background verification will provide a more secure program which will encourage more people to participate in the adoption process. That will be a welcome result.”

The bill, S-111, requires that all employees of adoption agencies that have been, or are seeking approval by DYFS, to undergo criminal background and child abuse background checks. The offenses that will bar applicants and current employees from working at the agencies include endangering the welfare of a child, abuse, abandonment or neglect, and domestic violence.

According to the bill, adoption agencies established before the bill’s effective date (six months after its signing), will have 60 days to submit employee background checks to the Department of Children and Families (DCF). Agencies established after the bill’s effective date will have to submit employee background checks to the DCF prior to opening. New hires will have to undergo a background check within two weeks of beginning employment, and will not be allowed to be left alone with children until the background check has been approved by the DCF.

Any agency found to be in violation of the bill’s provisions will be suspended and will run the risk of having its license revoked. New agencies seeking licensure from DYFS will have their application refused. Staff members who refuse to undergo the checks will have their employment terminated, the Legislators said.

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