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Outsourcing Adoption Services Cost Maricopa County $750K Annually

Published: Monday, July 27, 2020 - 6:24pm
Updated: Tuesday, July 28, 2020 - 8:30am
Maricopa County Attorney's Office
Allister Adel

For the past five years, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office outsourced adoption services to private law firms.

The policy was implemented by former county attorney Bill Montgomery in 2015.

After a U.S. District Court ruling in October 2014 declared Arizona’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, Montgomery refused to let the County Attorney’s Office represent a lesbian couple seeking an adoption.

State law requires county attorneys to offer legal representation for families in uncontested adoptions. Those typically involve adoptions by step-parents or other relatives.

Attorney Claudia Work said outsourcing adoption legal services allowed Montgomery to technically fulfill the state law while refusing to let his staff represent LGBTQ families.

But it came at a cost. 

According to the current Maricopa County attorney, Allister Adel, representing those families with staff attorneys will save the county budget roughly $750,000 a year. Work said she was astonished by how much Montgomery’s refusal cost.

“It doesn't appear that the decision was at all tailored to the public good,” she said. “There was nothing about the decision that helped the public or children.”