Author: Ryan

The state has a duty to protect children from birth parents

The state has a duty to protect children from birth parents

Los Angeles holds adoption ceremonies for more than 130 children each year, according to data released by the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services.

The vast majority of the births were not to gay or lesbian couples but in heterosexual relationships where there is a child’s safety involved, a spokeswoman for the state child welfare agency told Reuters Health.

In most cases, the department only became involved after it was notified by the birth parents. However, it also intervened last year when a girl born to two gay parents was found to have a medical condition that put her at risk, according to a report in The Times. The child had been adopted, and the department was responsible for the welfare of the child.

The department has a responsibility to protect children from their birth parents, because they would not have access to their health records, according to Jennifer Tumlin, a child welfare spokeswoman with the state agency.

“We have a duty to the birth parents to intervene,” Tumlin told Reuters Health. “It’s an assumption that if there was another option, they would make it available for the child.”

Of the 65 children that have sought welfare for protection, 53 have been placed by a birth mother with whom the department has an open adoption case. Of those, six have left the home, and 19 have been denied the option of leaving.

Birth mothers were asked if they would give a written statement about their intentions to keep or relinquish the child, and only 10 were willing to do so. There were no instances of a child being taken away by the state.

“If they can show that they are not fit to parent, the state has a duty of care,” said Tumlin.

The department does not place in foster care and does not use these cases to determine adoptability. Instead, it follows up with the birth mother for several years to see if she has provided the child with stable housing and stable income.

“We are able to put them back in the family home,” Tumlin said.

The department’s goal is to reunite families within the context of a healthy child, but this can be a long process because of time, money and resources, Tumlin said.

The Department of Children and Family Services, which oversees adoption for families in Los Angeles County, does not have data on the number of children adopted from other countries.

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