Washoe County-state set up pilot program to share responsibility in child neglect cases

RENO - Washoe County and the state have agreed to set up a pilot program for sharing the responsibility for children in child abuse and neglect cases.

The program was created from 1999 legislation designed to eliminate problems caused by the existing bureaucratic system.

The problem, county officials told lawmakers, is that child welfare protective services are traditionally provided by the county while the state handles long-term placement.

New federal laws that took effect last October require the state and counties to develop a permanent plan within 12 months for children who have been removed from their parents. Nevada's new law also requires a petition to terminate parental rights for any child being cared for outside their home for 14 of the last 22 months unless that child is with a relative.

Washoe officials say the split responsibility for abused and neglected children in their area has complicated the situation and made it difficult to provide proper long-term planning for the children.

With that in mind, the Legislature created joint state-county custody for those children. Washoe County is working with the state on the pilot project that will integrate state and county child welfare services in hopes of creating a better system.


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