|Each state contracted out its PAS program, although program structures varied.|
Formal PAS programs were instituted during the 1990s in all five case-study states. Adoption program managers reported that the development of PAS resulted from a combination of factors, including adoptive parent advocacy movements, state legislative action, and state executive initiative. In each of these states, PAS are contracted out rather than provided by state child welfare staff. State adoption program managers mentioned a variety of reasons for this approach. These reasons included cost effectiveness, the difficulties of hiring additional state staff and protecting their positions against budget cuts, and the belief that using external contractors fostered creativity and facilitated statewide service delivery in county-administered systems.
Adoption program managers and PAS coordinators described four PAS program structures:
- A central PAS provider with staff who serve all regions (Oregon)
- A central PAS coordinator who funds regional PAS providers (Massachusetts and Virginia)(5)
- Regional PAS providers operating without a central PAS coordinator (Texas)
- Separate statewide PAS providers for specific services (Georgia)
Most of the PAS providers selected by the states have extensive experience in providing services to children and families, including adoption services and child placement. Regional PAS providers were expected to offer the full array of services for their region.
Services such as information and referral, parent training, and support groups were provided at no cost to families. However, in some cases, funding did not cover the full cost of a service that families sought through other community providers (e.g., respite, camps).