Sunday I reported that the Texas Attorney General’s office claims that paps and adopters have no legal right to know the background of the children they intend to adopt. This isn’t the end of of the story!
After WFAA broke the initial story of ‘Phillip” and “Lisa’s” fight with Texas authorities to get background information on the four children they were trying to adopt, the station says it received numerous emails “detailing similar problems.”
Today, right in the middle of National Adoption Awareness Month, WFAA broadcast another case of Texas Department of Family and Protective Services shenanigans. This time it’s the story of “Michelle” and “Dave” who seven months ago tried to adopt two brothers, 5 and 7, from the state system. Records sent by the Department indicated the boys had no history of abuse or disturbing or disruptive behavior outside of “tantrums.” Soon after placement, however, the older boy began to rage for hours, punch himself in the face until his nose bled, and continually screamed that he would kill his new family. Knives and scissors were locked up.
For their effort to get the children’s state-secret pasts and help for them, the adoption was summarily terminated without notice, and the couple was given no opportunity to even say goodbye to the boys:
She said the law is difficult to enforce with state caseworkers.
“When you’re working with the state, it’s very difficult or most times impossible to sue the state,” Cox said.
(b) Before placing a child for adoption, the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services, a licensed child-placing agency, or the child’s parent or guardian shall compile a report on the available health, social, educational, and genetic history of the child to be adopted.
(c) The report shall include a history of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse suffered by the child, if any.
(d) If the child has been placed for adoption by a person or entity other than the department, a licensed child-placing agency, or the child’s parent or guardian, it is the duty of the person or entity who places the child for adoption to prepare the report.
(e) The person or entity who places the child for adoption shall provide the prospective adoptive parents a copy of the report as early as practicable before the first meeting of the adoptive parents with the child. The copy of the report shall be edited to protect the identity of birth parents and their families.
(f) The department, licensed child-placing agency, parent, guardian, person, or entity who prepares and files the original report is required to furnish supplemental medical, psychological, and psychiatric information to the adoptive parents if that information becomes available and to file the supplemental information where the original report is filed. The supplemental information shall be retained for as long as the original report is required to be retained.
Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.
Sec. 162.006. RIGHT TO EXAMINE RECORDS. (a) The department, licensed child-placing agency, person, or entity placing a child for adoption shall inform the prospective adoptive parents of their right to examine the records and other information relating to the history of the child. The person or entity placing the child for adoption shall edit the records and information to protect the identity of the biological parents and any other person whose identity is confidential.
Heidi Cox says one of the recommendations from the Adoption Review Committee will be that all records will be scanned into a computer database as they are created so information is “less likely” to be lost. Less likely? Was this recommendation decided before or after the news stories hit the airwaves?
Everybody reading this knows that adoption and foster care are fundamentally broken. Now we know so broken that files can’t even be maintained with any accuracy. So broken that seriously disturbed children are being scapegoated. So broken that the Texas Attorney General lies. Just how much other information has been “lost?” How many victims is the state creating? How many secrets are in those locked files?