Clark County Foster Care System Evaluates New Program - 8 News NOW

Clark County Foster Care System Evaluates New Program

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The Clark County Department of Family Services hosted the two-day meeting. The Clark County Department of Family Services hosted the two-day meeting.

LAS VEGAS -- In recent years, there have been cases of child abuse, even death, involving children in foster homes. 

One case involved Alexander Laws who was 2 years old at the time of his incident. Police say the boy nearly died while he was supposed to be in the care of a foster mom. Part of his skull had to be removed.

In Dec. 2013, two other foster parents pleaded guilty to child endangerment after they let their  teenage child place their 14-month-old foster child on a hot kitchen appliance burning the child.

The Clark County Department of Family Services has been using a new system for the past two years to keep tabs on foster parents and the children they have in their homes. It's called the Quality Parenting Initiative and is being used in several other states including California and Connecticut. Clark County hosted a two-day meeting in Las Vegas to discuss QPI's challenges and successes.

Foster parents like Audrey Rosenstein have noticed positive changes.

"I just recently re-unified my four-month-old foster baby with his mom and it was wonderful because we worked together," she said.

The goal of QPI is to have better caring foster parents. Foster parent candidates must take 30-hours of in-class training, pass a background check and be encouraged to work together with employees and sometimes the biological parents.

"It let her know that her child was being well taken care of while she took care of herself. She got herself where she needed to be to regain custody," Rosenstein said.

Experts on child care discussed future plans of the foster program with Rosenstein and other contributors to the foster program. While most foster parents have their heart in the right place, there have been problems.  

"Child welfare systems are never going to be tragedy-free systems. They are just not. There are too many people who are involved in those systems and too many parts and pieces," said Lisa Ruiz-Lee, the director of Clark County Department of Family Services.

In Clark County, the number of children reunified with their biological parents has jumped by 40 percent, which means they spend less time in foster care. The Department of Family Services has finalized the highest number of adoptions over the last three years with more than 570 in 2013.

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