Adoption/Foster Care Services Move from State to County
Dave Courvoisier talking with Susan Klein-Rothschild
(Apr. 7) -- When it comes to adoptions, there's a new abbreviation to learn in Las Vegas, and some big changes to go along with it. Instead of DCFS (Division of Child and Family Services), it's now just DFS (Department of Family Services). But that's just the surface. There's a lot more under the hood.
The State of Nevada is handing over adoption and foster care services to the county. Maybe it won't affect you, but it will touch the lives of almost 2,000 foster children in the county, and hundreds of state and county workers
Virtually every Wednesday's Child you've seen on Channel 8 Eyewitness News comes through the State Division of Child and Family Services. For as long as most people can remember, the state handled the issues of foster care and adoptions.
Most of those kids, though, were first received into the system by the county, which often led to a costly duplication of effort. Now it's all in the hands of the county.
"It's about each child getting a safe, stable permanent family as soon as possible. And we feel like if we have one department instead of two, we can make that happen more quickly," says Susan Klein-Rothschild, the director of the county DFS.
Klein-Rothschild has her hands full with the move from state to county. The change affects budgets, employees, resources and tradition.
"I think the bottom line for me, is this is really about doing things better for kids, it's not about changing from one bureaucracy to another, it's really about how do we keep kids safe, and how do we get them in a timely permanent home," says Klein-Rothschild.
The transition of foster and adoptive care from the state to the county is an overwhelming undertaking. The county calls it integration, which is to say they think they have an opportunity to do it a little better this time around. Regardless, the goal is the same -- finding permanency for kids.
"Our biggest challenge, basically, is probably finding enough homes for our children," says Gerald Robinson, who is in charge of recruiting new homes for foster and adoptive children.
Robinson is just one of many former state employees, now finding new challenges as a county worker.
"Coming over from the state, and the state was wonderful, but just to have the opportunity to start something new, I mean to basically reconstruct something that has been so close and dear to me, I am very excited about it," says Robinson.
Although the adoption and foster care services officially transferred from state to county last week, the change-over will not be complete until later this year.
The county will have about the same amount of money to provide these services as the state had. But they hope by cutting duplication of services, they'll be able to do it for less.
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