Assessing the Field of Post-Adoption Services: Family Needs, Program Models, and Evaluation Issues. Summary Report. 6.2.2 Eligibility


Which adoptive families are eligible to be served by PAS programs?

What we know: Most programs identified in the literature review provided PAS to families that have completed adoptions from the public child welfare system. The ILSU interviews suggest that these families remain the priority population for state-sponsored PAS programs. Children adopted internationally or privately may be excluded from receiving PAS. Among the five case-study states, however, two served all adoptive families regardless of adoption type. We do not know how likely it is that families with children adopted privately or from overseas will require services. However, data suggest that the needs they identify when they do seek services are similar to those of families who adopted from public child welfare systems (Gibbs, Barth, and Lenerz, 2000). One of the case-study states reported that its PAS program was open to pre-finalization adoptive families as well, an important target population given the challenges that families often face in the early phases of adoption (Pinderhughes, 1996).

Moving forward: State adoption agencies naturally place priority on services to children adopted from their foster care population. However, if PAS programs are effective in preserving adoptive families, removing eligibility restrictions could reduce displacement and dissolution among children adopted privately or internationally, and reduce disruptions among children from public child welfare agencies. Even modest achievements of either goal might make broader eligibility cost effective. Evaluation data from programs serving these families could answer questions including:

  • How do the frequency, type, and intensity of service needs differ among pre- and post-legalization families, and those who have adopted from public, private, and international agencies?
  • How do the needs and service utilization of adoptive families with subsidized kinship guardianship agreements differ from those of adoptive families?
  • Are there differences among types of families in service utilization and outcomes?
  • What is the most effective interface between support from child welfare adoption workers and PAS programs for families prior to adoption finalization?

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