Assessing the Field of Post-Adoption Services: Family Needs, Program Models, and Evaluation Issues. Summary Report. 5.3.1 Data Resources and Study Populations


Analysis of adoption subsidies drew on two sources: survey data and administrative records. Participants in the California Long-Range Adoption Study (CLAS) completed questionnaires in three waves (1990, 1992, and 1996) following adoption of children from foster care in 198889. Data from the CLAS study include information on a broad range of psychological, social, economic, and relational characteristics of adoptive families in California, some of which has been previously reported (Brooks, Allen, and Barth, 2002).

California administrative data were combined with those of a survey of adopted families.

California state data include case records completed at the time of adoption placement for children placed for adoption in 1988-89, and matching Adoption Assistance Program (AAP) records through December 2000. Data were available for 1,172 cases with AAP changes during that time, of whom 771 had available case record information. A total of 401 cases were excluded because children were over age 18, cases did not match, or cases had substantial missing data. Approximately half of children were female. Birth mothers race was most often white not Hispanic (61 percent), followed by 23 percent of Hispanic origin and 14 percent of African-American. Most of the adopting mothers were high school graduates (29 percent) or had some college or trade school (35 percent); just over half (51 percent) of adopting mothers worked outside the home prior to the adoption.

The AAP is theoretically updated with each biannual recertification or any time when the AAP amount changes; as with most administrative databases, some information is incomplete or missing. Children with many subsidy changes or those who have been in group care may be overrepresented in the database because workers have more opportunities to update their records.

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