PORTLAND, Ore. — Families in both Oregon and Kentucky are seeking to adopt a 4-year-old girl from southern Oregon, causing the states to dispute which has jurisdiction over her.
Oregon child welfare officials temporarily placed the Klamath Falls girl with her aunt and uncle in Kentucky two years ago. The officials then decided last year that an Oregon family, unrelated to the child, could adopt Laila Sloan, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported on Wednesday.
Before the Oregon family could adopt, a Kentucky judge ruled that the uncle and aunt, James and Angela Sloan, could adopt her because their state has jurisdiction.
Richard Garbutt, an Oregon attorney assigned to represent the girl, said the state is fighting the Kentucky decision. The state wants to avoid setting the precedent of allowing another state to claim authority over Oregon foster children temporarily placed out of state, he said.
Oregon currently has 349 children placed with foster families in other states and 37 in out-of-state residential facilities, according to the state human services agency.
The Oregon family was chosen by state child welfare officials to adopt the girl’s baby brother. An older brother lives in Oregon as well.
The Sloans hired lawyers in both states to fight for adoption rights.
The Oregon Department of Justice hired a Kentucky lawyer to challenge that state’s jurisdiction, Garbutt said.
Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive, http://www.oregonlive.com