Assessing the Field of Post-Adoption Services: Family Needs, Program Models, and Evaluation Issues. Analysis of Secondary Data. 2.2 Study Population

11/01/2002

There were 8,647 children in the study population. All children had a final decree of adoption between January 1, 1990, and July 15, 2001. Exhibit 4 summarizes the demographic characteristics of the group. Only 12 percent of the children were older than 11 at the time of the final decree of adoption. There were slightly more boys than girls, and more than half of the adopted children were members of minority groups. A large percentage of the children, 90 percent, were in open cases and currently receiving some form of adoption assistance. Virtually all of the children (99.8 percent) were identified as emotionally disturbed, which meets the adoption assistance eligibility requirement for "special needs." It is unclear whether these children were considered emotionally disturbed on the basis of having been in foster care, or whether there were particular criteria that children met in order to be given this classification.

Exhibit 4.
Characteristics of Children in Study Population
  Number of children Percentage
Age at final decree:    
  Birth to 5 4,398 51%
  6 - 11 3,269 38%
  12 - 15 824 10%
  16 - 17 156 2%
Male 4,430 51%
Female 4,217 49%
White 3,829 44%
Black 3,907 45%
Other 901 10%

Although there are some children in the study who were adopted in the early 1990s, almost three-quarters of the children in this study, 70 percent, were adopted in the past five years. Exhibit 5 provides a summary of the number and percentage of children by the year of final adoption decree.

Exhibit 5.
Number and Percentage of Children by Year of Final Decree of Adoption
  Number of children Percentage
1991 283 3.3
1992 321 3.7
1993 427 4.9
1994 472 5.5
1995 560 6.5
1996 666 7.7
1997 1,040 12.0
1998 964 11.2
1999 993 11.5
2000 1,310 15.2
2001 1,606 18.6
Total 8,642 100.0

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