Assessing the Field of Post-Adoption Services: Family Needs, Program Models, and Evaluation Issues. Summary Report. Conclusions and Future Directions

11/01/2002

Considering the rapid and ongoing development of the field of post-adoption services, none of the inquiries conducted within this study can be considered definitive. Many promising programs have yet to be documented in the literature, and our case studies included only a few of the well-regarded programs currently in operation. Much work remains to be done before program and administrative data achieve their potential for describing the experience of adoptive families.

Based on this incomplete evidence, we can nevertheless make some early observations on what is known with respect to the studys research questions:

  • What is the extent of need for PAS?
  • What are the characteristics of existing PAS programs?
  • How are PAS programs assessing their effectiveness?

From this base, we suggest a framework of strategies to move the field forward. These represent research, policy, and practice directions for consideration at the federal, state, and program levels.

A general caveat to these observations is that available data have rarely addressed the experiences of families with subsidized guardianship arrangements. As states expand their use of subsidized guardianship, these families will become an important part of the population of adoptive families. To the extent that their needs differ from other adoptive families, PAS programs may need to develop new approaches to reaching and serving these families.

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