Assessing the Field of Post-Adoption Services: Family Needs, Program Models, and Evaluation Issues. Case Study Report. 5.2.1 Program Structure

11/01/2002

Adoption program managers and PAS coordinators described four PAS program structures:

  • A central PAS provider with staff that serve all regions (Oregon)
  • A central PAS coordinator who funds regional PAS providers (Massachusetts and Virginia)(2)
  • Regional PAS providers operating without a central PAS coordinator (Texas)
  • Separate statewide PAS providers for specific services (Georgia)
States have used the contracting process to encourage collaboration among service providers.

States have used the contracting process to promote collaboration among service providers. Recognizing that several qualified service providers existed across the state, Virginia and Massachusetts required that agencies submitting proposals collaborate with other providers to offer services as teams. The lead service providers in both states approached competitors to ask them to work together. Adoption program managers and PAS coordinators/providers acknowledged that this collaboration led to formalization of relationships among providers who may not have ever worked together. PAS coordinators/providers mentioned that quarterly regional provider meetings fostered links among providers across the state. A PAS provider concluded that Virginias effort to make the program statewide and to foster collaboration had been positive and marked by regular meetings and information sharing.

Most of the PAS providers selected by the state have extensive experience in providing services to children and families, including adoption services and child placement. Some of the providers in Massachusetts and Texas have been in operation for over 100 years. In addition, Texas PAS providers are required to be child-placing agencies. Providers who are adoption agencies reported that they had been providing PAS informally to their clients before receiving state funding for PAS. However, not all PAS providers had been established entities. In order to establish services in a region that had previously had none, a PAS provider agency in Virginia was newly established as a satellite office of the lead PAS provider agency.

Regional PAS providers were expected to offer the full array of services for their region. However, their experience may be more extensive in some services than others. Interviewees in Virginia and Massachusetts noted that some PAS providers tended to focus on the services with which they have most experience. Georgias adoption program manager noted that choosing statewide providers for specific services reduced variations in service delivery across regions and allowed the state to take advantage of providers specific areas of expertise. In Texas, regional providers originally had been intended to provide the full range of PAS. When it became apparent that this was not feasible, the state agreed to let PAS providers subcontract the majority of services while retaining case management. Providers in Georgia, as well as regional providers in Virginia and Massachusetts, subcontracted or outsourced services as needed.

Outside formal PAS programs, child welfare staff provided limited information and support to adoptive families. In all five states, adoption program managers noted that state or county adoption specialists focused primarily on pre-adoption activities (e.g., recruitment of families, pre-adoption training, selection of families, home visitation, post-placement support, finalization) rather than PAS. Although adoption workers may have stayed in touch with families after finalization, they were not expected to provide continued support. Adoption subsidy workers also provided information to families in the course of their interactions. Among the states responding to the ILSU interviews, 19 of 30 (excluding case-study states) reported that state or county staff provided post-adoption assistance to families. However, many of these staff were subsidy workers, intake workers, or adoption specialists who typically provided limited information and referral for post-adoption issues.

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