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timely, expert child and family assessments should help to improve permanency outcomes and reduce the cycle of adopt-and-return.

#11: Prosecute child sex abusers and ensure sexual abuse victims receive proper treatment. It is incum- bent upon the child welfare system as a whole to not only remove a child from a sexual abuse situation, but to make sure local child abuse protocols are up to date, in force, and that all the legally required participants are meeting in order to ensure that perpetrators are prosecuted. Attorneys and the courts should require fo- rensic interviews as soon as allegations of sexual abuse are known and, when warranted, mandate treatment by trained professionals. Treatment recommendations must be acted upon swiftly to ensure that children re- ceive the services needed to deal with the trauma of sexual abuse.

#12: Provide independent oversight for children re- ceiving mental health treatment. Children receiving institutional care for mental health issues should be regularly reviewed by an independent psychiatric entity to ensure proper care.

#13: Improve access to information on reproductive health for children in DFCS custody. Georgia should develop an age-specific and medically appropriate re- productive health class for foster teens. The legal com- munity should be educated about services available in their community in order to provide appropriate refer- rals.

#14: Utilize adoption counselors and specially trained staff to reduce resistance to adoption. Expand the use of adoption counselors and training of DFCS case man- agers to work with youth that are resistant to adoption to help them overcome their fears and open themselves to the possibility of finding a family.

#15: Expand family dependency treatment courts statewide. Research demonstrates the success of fam- ily dependency treatment courts that handle depriva- tion cases due to parental substance abuse. Georgia should expand the piloted model around the state so that more substance abusing parents have access to services.

1 Faller, K. (1993) “Child Sexual Abuse: Intervention and Treatment Issues.” US Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from: http://www. childwelfare.gov/pubs/usermanuals/sexabuse/sexabuseb.cfm.

2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1998) “Adverse Childhood Expe- riences Study” Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/ace/index.htm.


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