HHS/ASPE. U. S. Department of Health and Human Services.Background

The National Survey of Adoptive Parents (NSAP)

Project Page

This project page is available on the Internet at:
http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/09/NSAP/

Contents

Background

The National Survey of Adoptive Parents (NSAP) is the first large, nationally representative survey of adoptive families across adoption types.  A secondary sample focuses on adopted children with special health care needs.  The survey about families’ adoption experiences was sponsored by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) and the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), and conducted in collaboration with the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).  Data collection was conducted as a telephone survey during 2007-2008.  A chartbook on adoptive families based on the survey’s data is available, along with other publications. Public Use Files for the data are available from the National Center for Health Statistics.  Additional federal publications using the data will be forthcoming during 2009 and 2010.  In addition, the journal Adoption Quarterly will publish a special issue in 2010 comprised of analyses using NSAP data.

The survey’s main sample (N about 2,000) is nationally representative of adopted children in the U.S. ages 0-17, excluding step-parent adoptions.  A second sample (N about 1,000 and titled the National Survey of Adoptive Parents of Children with Special Health Care Needs or NSAP-SN)) is nationally representative of adopted children with special health care needs.  Foster care adoptions, international adoptions, and domestic adoptions from sources other than foster care can be distinguished in the data.  These data provide information on the health and well-being of adopted children in the U.S., as well as information about their family’s well-being and adoption-related experiences, including parents’ reasons for adoption and decisions about adoption type, adoption preparation, openness, post-adoption financial and nonfinancial service utilization, and more.  Detailed information about the survey’s content, including the survey instruments and procedures for accessing the data, is available online at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/slaits/nsap.htm for the general sample and http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/slaits/nsapsn.htm for the special needs sample.

The NSAP was intended to gather information on the characteristics of adopted children and their families and to gain insights into their adoption-related experiences and post-adoption service utilization and needs.  Much of the social services literature uses adoption as an end point to the search for a family for the child and gives relatively little attention to children’s needs and well-being after the adoption has been finalized, or to families’ potential ongoing challenges.  As the number of children adopted both from foster care and international sources has grown in recent years, there has been increased interest in understanding children’s long-term well-being following the adoption.  For government agencies involved in adoption, however, contact with families tends to be extremely limited following finalization.  In addition, because children’s names, Social Security numbers, and other potentially identifying information may change at the time of adoption, it is not usually possible to use administrative data to track children’s use of government assistance or services from the pre-adoption to the post-adoption periods.

We expect that information on the experiences of families who have adopted can provide insights into the factors that facilitate or hinder the success of adoptions and the post-adoption supports that may be helpful to assure the continued well-being of adopted children and their families.  In addition, with respect to children adopted from foster care, a better understanding of how families use adoption subsidy funds for their children’s well-being may be important to demonstrating their value to families.  The information obtained through the NSAP will be used to help recruit adoptive parents for children in the U.S. foster care system by describing the reasons why families adopt and the characteristics of adoptive families and the children they adopt.  The information will also improve our understanding of the supports adoptive families find most helpful.  In addition, the NSAP provides data on openness in adoptions, transracial and transcultural aspects of adoption, and adoption satisfaction across adoption types.

Adoption USA:
A Chartbook Based on the 2007 National Survey of Adoptive Parents

The chartbook presents findings from the first nationally representative survey of adoptive parents in the U.S. About 2 percent of U.S. children joined their families through adoption. The chartbook describes the characteristics, adoption experiences, and well-being of these children and their families, making comparisons between adopted children and the general population of children in the U.S. and between children adopted through different adoption types. Highlights include:

The chartbook contains information on a variety of additional topics including parents’ motivation for adopting and receipt of post-adoption services.

Publications

Research Briefs


How to Obtain a Printed Copy

To obtain a printed copy of any report, send the title and your mailing information to:

Human Services Policy, Room 404E
Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Ave, SW
Washington, DC 20201

Fax:  (202) 690-6562
Email:  pic@hhs.gov


Where to?

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Home Pages:
Human Services Policy (HSP)
Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

Last updated:  08/15/2011