Study Explores Use, Helpfulness of Post-Adoption Services

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A study of 873 adoptive parents in California found fewer than 30 percent used most post-adoption services, despite the fact that most who received services found them helpful. A Children and Youth Services Review (Volume 24:4) article summarizing the study findings, "Adoption Services Use, Helpfulness, and Need: A Comparison of Public and Private Agency and Independent Adoptive Families," examines ways adoption service providers could better meet the needs of adoptive families.

Eight years after their adoptions, adoptive parents were asked about their utilization of post-adoption services, the helpfulness of those services, and their recommendations for pre- and post-adoption services. Significant differences were found among parents who adopted through public agencies, private agencies, and independent facilitators. Public agency adopters, for example, were more likely than the other groups to want clinical services such as support groups for adoptive parents and adopted children, child counseling, and family therapy.

According to the researchers, adopters of all types expressed a strong desire for information about their child's background and history, as well as ongoing information to help them understand and parent their children. Other services families considered most important included reading material about adoption, legal advice, and information about the financial costs of adoption.

Services families considered least important included respite care, intensive crisis counseling, marital or individual counseling, family therapy, and classes for extended family members on understanding adoption.

Researchers expressed concern about the lack of post-adoption services provided by private facilitators and cited the need for longitudinal research on the differences between public and private adoption services and their impact on the long-term development of children and families. The authors also discussed a number of practice implications for service providers.

Information about Children and Youth Services Review and an abstract of the post-adoption study can be found at www.childwelfare.com/kids/cysr.htm.

Children's Bureau Express Volume 4, Number 5
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