Performance Improvement 2004. Assessing the field of post-adoption services: family needs, program models, and evaluation issues: analysis of secondary data


The purpose of the project was to bring together what we know about post adoption services from existing research, what we can know with the analysis of national and/or multi-state data and visits to existing programs, and to suggest an agenda for future federal research on these issues, particularly as they arise from the Adoption and Safe Families Act. This report focused on whether the administrative data collected by states about adoption subsidy payments can be used to better understand the use of subsidies for purchase of services and to describe the disruption, dissolution, and displacement of adoptions. Employing several analytical methods, this project explored the service needs of families following the adoption of a child from the public child welfare system and assessed the “state of the art” in the current array of post adoption services. Analyses using data from two states, California and North Carolina, demonstrated what could be done in other states with similar data and suggested how modifications to administrative data systems could enhance our understanding of adoptions. Findings include evidence that almost all children adopted from foster care in North Carolina received cash assistance subsidy payments with amounts tending to remain unchanged or to increase gradually with age. In California, by contrast, there were fewer cases in which there are no changes. As payment changes occur, the rapidity of subsequent changes increases. Although the California data suggested that subsidy increases were associated with the worsening of children’s behavior, they were strongly associated with parental characteristics. This suggests the equitability of adoption subsidy adjustments needs to be better understood. Data from North Carolina supported previous findings of low dissolution rates, with greater risk for older children and for minority children as compared with infants and white children in the state. In California, event history analysis showed that the likelihood of entering residential care is associated with age at placement, the number of prior payment changes, and, to a lesser extent, family income.

PIC ID: 7952.3
Agency Sponsor: ASPE-OHSP, Office of Human Services Policy
Federal Contact: Radel, Laura, 202-690-5938
Performer: RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC

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