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Audit: Wash. State Can Do More To Help Families Who Adopt Foster Kids

Washington state could do a better job when it comes to assisting families who’ve adopted children from foster care, according to a report by the state auditor's office. 

That’s especially the case for families who’ve adopted children with special needs or those who have been diagnosed with emotional or physical problems, the office found.

More than half of the families who negotiated their adoption support benefits in the past year gave poor to fair ratings for the state’s negotiation process, the report said. Among the needs of some parents: finding information about services in their communities.

The report compared the system and services in Washington to those in eight other states.

Auditor Nancy Dufoe said Washington could learn from the way other states support not just foster parents, but others who make foster children a permanent part of their family.

"Families who adopt from foster care, they are not in the child welfare system. They are not in the dependency system," Dufoe said.

One approach found in other states is a decision to form a non-profit to provide a range of "post-adoption" services. That includes services such as family counseling or crisis intervention -- services that extend beyond direct financial support.

There are about 9,000 families in Washington caring for 14,000 children adopted from foster care.