State adoption program managers, PAS coordinators, and PAS providers identified similar family needs. In several states, PAS needs assessments had been conducted. Oregons most recent needs assessment, which sampled families receiving adoption subsidies, achieved a 50% response rate (Fine, 2000). Parents were asked about services they had received during the previous year and how important various services might be for their family in the coming year. Counseling for children was the service most frequently described as somewhat or very important, by 49% of interviewees, followed by professional advice about rights and services (46%), support groups (45%), and respite care (42%). Nearly one-third of the families did not view any of the listed services as important. Comparison of service needs to services received suggests a high proportion of unmet needs.
|Service||Described service as
somewhat or very important %
|Reported using service
in previous year %
|Counseling for children||49||30|
|Counseling for adults||37||13|
|Source: Fine, 2000.|
Most coordinators/providers mentioned respite as being a major need. Many also felt that, in addition to providing reimbursement or payment for respite care providers, families needed group respite activities such as camps, trips, and fun days. Coordinators/providers said that families found these activities to be beneficial but that providers were limited in their ability to offer them.
|Respite, mental health services, adoption-competent professionals, advocacy, and residential treatment were needs frequently identified by coordinators and providers.|
Another need that coordinators/providers often cited was mental health services for adoptive families. Although these services were funded through Medicaid, many mental health providers did not accept Medicaid. Oregons adoption program manager noted that if any additional funding were to be available, her first priority would be to provide counseling and crisis intervention services in each of the states service areas. In Texas, the adoption program manager saw a need for the development of home-based therapeutic services. Coordinators/providers also mentioned that families needed professionals competent in adoption issues, especially in the educational and mental health areas. Families needed educators who were aware of adoption issues as well as advocates to attend education meetings with parents to help ensure that their needs were met.
Several coordinators/providers mentioned advocacy, residential treatment, case management, support groups, and assistance with adoption subsidies as other needs of adoptive families in their state. They also said that parents needed more training about adoption issues before the adoption occurred. Some stressed that this would make parents better able to prevent later problems.