Assessing the Field of Post-Adoption Services: Family Needs, Program Models, and Evaluation Issues. Summary Report. 3.7 Outreach and Referral


Despite energetic outreach, many adoptive families are unaware of available services.

State adoption managers and providers in the five case-study states reported a variety of strategies by which they inform families about the availability of PAS. Activities included sending letters about the program to families receiving subsidies, disseminating printed materials, meeting with local or state government social services and other community organizations, establishing community boards on post-adoption services, operating local or statewide information and referral telephone lines, and presenting the PAS program at pre-adoption parent training classes. None of the adoption program managers expressed concern that increased publicity would lead to waiting lists for services. In spite of these extensive efforts, adoptive families across the five case-study states reported that they still needed more information about the types of services offered and how to access them. This was true even for parents who had accessed the states PAS program.

Many families heard of PAS programs through referrals from the child welfare agency or other service providers. In several states, however, PAS coordinators/providers and adoptive families reported that child welfare intake staff and adoption subsidy workers failed to refer families to PAS programs. In spite of extensive outreach efforts, providers reported that many adoptive families came to them for the first time in crisis situations, rather than receiving support in a preventive manner. Adoptive families in the focus groups confirmed that they often were unaware of the PAS program prior to a crisis situation.

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