Assessing the Field of Post-Adoption Services: Family Needs, Program Models, and Evaluation Issues. Case Study Report. 6.7 Advocacy

11/01/2002

PAS providers reported that advocacy came in many forms in dealing with adoptive families. Staff described accompanying client families to meetings and conferences with schools and community service providers. Staff in one Texas region attended community review board meetings for cases where the childs needs extended to several state agencies. As discussed earlier, many adoptive families reported a particular need for advocacy with respect to education because they felt school professionals did not understand the potential special needs of adopted children.

Educational advocacy was particularly important to adoptive parents.

Several PAS providers across the five states noted that, although they were advocates for families, they also wanted families to feel ownership of the effort so that they could maintain balance in their families. One provider asserted that her agency upheld a strong emphasis on parent self-determination and family responsibility and a focus on empowering families rather than serving as a rescuer.

Parent liaisons provided advocacy for families in Virginia. In Georgia, under the Statewide Adoptive Parent Support Network that will be established in 2002, regional network advisors will be responsible for one-on-one assistance and advocacy on behalf of adoptive families. The state adoption program manager noted that experienced adoptive parents would be preferred for these positions. These advisors will be expected to be an advocate for and coordinate services to adoptive families and to be aware of adoption resources.

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