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Clark County Child Welfare Problems Under Scrutiny From Supreme Court

Nevada Supreme Court Justice Nancy Saitta has established a blue ribbon committee to examine the deficiencies in the Clark County child welfare system and courts.

Problems include overcrowding at Child Haven, the county’s emergency shelter for abused or neglected children, shortage of foster homes and long court calendars for child welfare cases. The eight-member group will also examine why children are not being released to relatives.

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“Action needs to be taken immediately to address these shortcoming that are jeopardizing the well-being of children in Clark County,” Saitta said in a statement. “These children deserve better, and I get no sense of urgency on the part of the system.”

Saitta added the committee will identify the most serious issues within the system and work with Clark County officials “to make sure they are corrected quickly.”  Saitta appointed the committee as part of the Court Improvement Program for the Protection and Permanency of Dependent Children, which she chairs.

The group will meet during the next four months and come up with recommendations for county action, and possible legislative bills for the 2015 session beginning in February or a combination of both. The first meeting is scheduled for Oct. 7.

In addition to Saitta, the committee include Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, Clark County Commissioner Susan Brager; former Assembly Speaker and Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada Executive Director Barbara Buckley; Nevada Human Health and Services Director Amber Howell; District Judge Deborah Schumacher, Second Judicial District Court; and Thom Reilly, a former Clark County manager and managing principal and founder of the Reilly Group.


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Nancy Saitta, Nevada Supreme Court Justice

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(Editor's note: Chris Sieroty no longer works for Nevada Public Radio)