TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senator Loretta Weinberg which would require that employees of agencies specializing in international adoptions undergo criminal background and child abuse record checks has been introduced in the Senate.
“When parents in the United States rely on an adoption agency to find them a child in another country, social workers are called upon to bridge the gap between parents and the overseas orphanage,” said Senator Weinberg, D-Bergen. “A myriad of circumstances can surround the need for a child to be put up for adoption, and more often than not, the child has lived through some traumatic experiences. Moving to a different country to live with a new family is also very traumatic, and this legislation would work to make sure that the social workers have the best interest and safety of the child in mind.”
Senator Weinberg’s bill, S-2857, would require employees of agencies performing foreign adoptions to submit to a background check and a child abuse record investigation performed by the State Department of Children and Families (DCF) the State Police and the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS). Current employees would be required to submit to the background check within 90 days of the bill becoming law, and new hires would be required to undergo the check within 30 days of being hired.
The bill also authorizes the DCF to exchange fingerprint data and criminal history information with the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the State Police.
Any person found to have a criminal history would be permanently disqualified from working at an adoption agency.
DYFS would be responsible for performing employee child abuse record checks, at the request of an adoption agency. Any agency employee found to have a history of child abuse would be immediately fired.
This measure now awaits approval from the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.