Parents who want to create a family or add to their family have a few options. Adoption can be an excellent way to bring a child into family and can be accomplished through independent means or through an adoption agency. Adoption agencies are either public or private and the state regulates them as they work to place children with new parents.
Because adoption agencies are regulated by the state, parents working with agencies often place a large amount of trust in the agencies throughout the adoption process. But recently, eight Michigan families have claimed that the agencies lied to the adoptive parents about the children's disabilities and then later denied the families funding for the disabled kids.
There are eight families involved, with a total of 19 adopted children. The suit is against the Department of Human Services and names child welfare offices in several Michigan counties, as well as many other private and public agencies. The lawsuit alleges deceit and claims that DHS violated federal law for as long as 20 years. The families are asking for $13 million in damages.
The parents were told by DHS that the children being adopted were healthy, both mentally and physically. According to the complaint, DHS employees lied, knowing that the children had disabilities. Some of the lies, the parents argue, included statements about the level of neglect and abuse suffered by the children prior to adoption.
The complaint also argues that the families were denied Title IV-E funds, which is money from Social Security used to aide families that adopt special needs children.
The adoptive families love their children very much and feel lucky to be given the chance to participate in the adoption process. But they feel frustrated with the lies and the unwillingness of the agencies to pay for the additional assistance. The families hope that a verdict in their favor will make up for the extra costs of disabled children.
Source: Lansing State Journal, "8 Michigan families allege state adoption fraud," Louise Knott Ahern, Sept. 13, 2012