Assessing the Field of Post-Adoption Services: Family Needs, Program Models, and Evaluation Issues. Case Study Report. 6.1 Information and Referral

11/01/2002

Strategies used for information and referral services were diverse: 24-hour phone lines, websites, lending libraries, databases of adoption-competent professionals, printed materials (both about the program and about specific resources for families), and newsletters. Providers in Massachusetts and Oregon operated lending libraries, which were said to be well used. In addition to offering a wide selection of books and videos in English, the Oregon library had a small collection of Spanish-language materials.

In two of five states, adoptive parent liaisons were matched with families to provide information, referrals, and advocacy.

Georgia recently awarded a contract to establish a Statewide Adoptive Parent Support Network. The network will provide a statewide information, referral, and access system (e.g., toll-free information and referral phone number), place regional advisors around the state, establish a lending library and website, and initiate a quality assurance program for adoption services.

The Virginia and Massachusetts programs used parent liaisons, who were themselves adoptive parents, to provide information and referrals. In both states parent liaisons talked with the families that had contacted their agencies, identified their needs, and worked to locate needed resources. Both states considered parent liaisons to be part of the response teams, providing nonclinical services such as accompanying families to meetings at school or facilitating support groups.

PAS programs in the five states provided families with referrals to community mental health and other service providers. In Massachusetts, a subcontractor to the lead service agency provided families with free access to its extensive provider database. Across states, providers noted the care with which referrals were made. The Oregon PAS coordinator noted that staff made referrals in an objective manner, not endorsing particular therapists or service providers. To empower families, staff encouraged them to call the service provider themselves. PAS providers in Texas said that they relied on several factors to ensure the quality of the professionals receiving their referrals, including routine reviews of status reports and notes from subcontracted therapists, annual renewal of contracts, and input from families.

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