As reported in the literature review, available research on post-adoption services and supports is largely descriptive and based on few projects. Although these projects can be considered front-runners in a relatively unexplored field, they are not without methodological problems. The small sample sizes and nonrandom sampling for several of these projects suggest that the results should not be taken as generalizable. Other concerns related to measures and methods are readily identifiable. For example, the length of the service period was rarely clearly specified, even when it was used as a measure of success for disruption rates (e.g., chap147;percentage of families remaining together at the close of the service periodchap148;). Based on currently available evaluation findings, it is difficult to determine confidently whether post-adoption services and programs have succeeded.
This section describes current and recent PAS evaluations in terms of the types of services evaluated, which aspects of the programs were measured, and data collection methods used. Two groups of evaluations are discussed: those identified by our literature review (Barth, Gibbs, and Siebenaler, 2001) and ongoing evaluations described in the case study report (Gibbs, Siebenaler, Harris, and Barth, 2002). Although the former group is generally more fully developed, the latter represents ongoing and recent efforts by well-regarded programs.
Exhibit 2-1 provides background information on the five evaluations identified in the literature review. The Illinois program was known originally as the Adoption Preservation Project. As the population served changed, the name of the program became the Adoption/Guardianship Preservation Program, which is the name we use throughout.
|Program Name/ State||Services Offered||Evaluators||Report Reference|
|Adoption/Guardianship Preservation Program, Illinois||
||Center for Adoption Studies, Illinois State University||Smith and Howard, 1994; Howard and Smith, 2001|
|Post-Adoption Family Therapy Project, Oregon||
||Program staff||Prew, 1990; Prew, Suter, and Carrington, 1990|
|Post-Adoption Resources for Training, Networking, and Evaluation Services (PARTNERS), Iowa||
||Victor Groze, currently
at Case Western Reserve University
|Barth, 1991; Groze, Young, and Corcran-Rumppe, 1991|
|Casey Family Services Post-Adoption Program, New England||
||School of Social Work, University of North Carolina and RTI||Gibbs, Barth, and Lenerz, 2000|
|Medina Children's Services, Washington||
||Program staff||Unpublished program documents|
Evaluation efforts in each of the five case-study states are discussed here, but more detail is available for Georgia, Massachusetts, and Oregon, because those states have produced written evaluation reports on at least some components of their programs. Exhibit 2-2 summarizes background information on all of the case-study states.
|Program Name/State||Services Offered||Evaluation||Evaluator/Report Reference|
|Post Adoption Program, Georgia||
||Each program required to have evaluation component collecting data on service provision and use.||Statewide service providers, each of which is expected to evaluate its program. (L. Liphart, pers. comm., 12/10/01)|
|Adoption Crossroads, Massachusetts||
||Multiyear evaluation on client satisfaction, service provision and use, and outcome measures.||Salem State College, Christopher Hudson, P.I. (Hudson et al., 2002)|
|Oregon Post Adoption Resource Center (ORPARC), Oregon||
||Several needs assessments conducted before creation of ORPARC and during its early development. Client tracking database used and client satisfaction survey conducted by mail.||David Fine (Fine, 2000; Fine, 2002)|
|Post Adoption Program, Texas||
||Data on service plans and utilization compiled for accounting but not used in evaluation. Regional service providers developed annual client satisfaction survey.||Service providers review client satisfaction surveys.|
|Adoptive Family Preservation Program, Virginia||
||Client tracking form used by regional offices. Providers used child assessments on a pre- and post-service basis.||Regional providers compile data for statewide service provider.|
Several types of formal evaluations are possible in assessing PAS interventions or programs, including descriptions of children and families served, descriptions of services received, assessments of adoptive family satisfaction with services, and outcome evaluations. In addition, needs assessments can provide states or other funding organizations with information about adoptive families to facilitate the creation of PAS programs or to provide current programs with findings that facilitate a mid-course correction in allocation of services. Based on the program evaluations described above, this section describes in greater detail the types of evaluation most commonly conducted, the specific types of data gathered, and the data collection methods used.