Information relevant to understanding post-adoption dynamics, post-adoption services, and subsidy use is routinely collected and underused. Because there has been so little attention to these data, we have found substantial confusion about them. This is indicative of how foster care data were kept prior to SACWIS and other innovations in foster care data use. We believe that adoption subsidy data continue to be written over in some states, so that only the current subsidy shows there is no history, therefore, of subsidy changes. These kinds of procedures greatly weaken our chances of showing how the pattern of subsidy changes is related to adoption outcomes. Demonstrating possible uses of subsidy data is important to motivating states to do a better job of collection, storage, retrieval, and analysis.
Taken together, the analyses in this document serve several purposes. They offer a sample of the kinds of administrative data that are available to better understand post-adoption services and supports. They offer some ideas about the kinds of analyses that can be done to bring meaning to these data. They offer some substantive findings about adoption subsidies and how they are used. Finally, they offer some ideas about modifications to administrative data systems that could improve their information yield about adoption.