Assessing the Field of Post-Adoption Services: Family Needs, Program Models, and Evaluation Issues. Case Study Report. 9.2.1 Impetus for PAS Program Development

11/01/2002

Federal funding was essential in encouraging PAS programs in states that were motivated to develop them.

The federal government has long invested in adoption subsidies and, since the late 1990s, has invested in PAS. Assessing the extent to which the federal funding support has encouraged development of PAS programs is challenging, but there is no doubt that the growth in PAS has been encouraged by the availability of adoption bonuses and Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program funding under Title IV-B, Subpart 2. Although four of the five case-study states used Title IV-B, Subpart 2 funds for their PAS programs, the availability of this support did not seem to have been critical in these states decision to develop PAS programs. Instead, adoption program managers described the importance of advocacy by adoptive parents and champions within state agencies or legislatures. The experience for this limited set of states suggests that while federal funding may be necessary for PAS program development, these resources did not in themselves lead to program development. Of course, these states were selected because they are considered well developed in the area of PAS. States with weak or nonexistent PAS programs might be more readily influenced in initiating services as a result of federal initiatives.

Adoptive families may face substantial disparities according to their state of residence.

The field of PAS has not yet produced a conclusive research base, but strong evidence suggests that some adoptive families need specialized supports for part or all of their childs development and that PAS programs are providing these supports effectively. Some of these needs could also be supported through adoption subsidies; however, the RTI teams review of data on subsidy policies does not suggest that any states are increasing subsidy support to compensate for a lack of PAS. To the extent that PAS programs and subsidies do meet the needs of adoptive families, disparities in their availability will mean that childrens long-term outcomes will vary by their state and county of residence/adoption. This research, in the context of work reported in an earlier literature review, suggests that it is timely for the federal government to take stronger measures to encourage all states to make more extensive post-adoption supports available.

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