Las Vegas Sun

November 27, 2014

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Fewer children at Child Haven — and that’s good news

Things are looking up at Child Haven.

Eighteen months ago, the county shelter housed more than 230 abused, neglected and abandoned children – more than double its intended capacity.

Newborns slept in staff offices while older children slept on cots in the gymnasium. The overcrowded conditions led to public outcry and the filing of a lawsuit by a children’s advocacy organization.

As of today, though, there are only 21 children at Child Haven, said Tom Morton, director of the county’s family services department.

During a presentation to Clark County commissioners today, Morton said there have been significant improvements since the county allocated additional resources to the foster care system in late 2006.

The county has recruited more foster parents, increasing the number of homes by 130 -- to 508 -- over the past year. Also, the family services department created an emergency response team last February so that more informed decisions about whether to remove a child from home can be made on the scene. The county also has sped up adoptions.

Still, the county continues to fall below some foster care standards, such as the number of overdue investigations.

“There are other areas we still need to work on,” Morton said. “But I do believe these are signs of progress.”

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