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How Should the Adoption Community Respond to the Olivia Atkocaitis Abuse Allegations?

A lawsuit filed in Merrimack County, New Hampshire Superior Court last week makes serious allegations against numerous individuals and organizations, of child abuse, neglect, and failure to protect the well-being of Olivia Atkocaitis over many years. The lawsuit describes a horrific picture of abuse at the hands of her parents. The allegations are gravely concerning, indicating failures from the social services and law enforcement professionals tasked with her protection.

It should go without saying that the safety and well-being of children must be at the forefront of ethical adoption and child welfare practices. When that does not happen, the adoption community should support legal proceedings to fully investigate, understand what happened and how, and see that justice is served. Even one case of abuse, in any home, is one too many.

In addition, we must recognize the pain and grief that this causes the adoption community. From adoptees, birth parents, and adoptive parents, to the professionals who provide services to them, we as a community are deeply saddened by this and are collectively considering what needs to change to prevent this from happening to anyone else.

To that end, NCFA has taken initial steps to review the training resources we offer to professionals in the areas of parent assessment and post-adoption support, in order to identify any gaps or opportunities to expand the reach and impact of these resources. Additionally, we call on public and private agencies, as well as law enforcement, to do the same, so we can prevent these atrocities from happening in the future.