Principal Investigator:
Ruth McRoy, Ph.D.

Duration: 6/1/00 – 8/31/06

The Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services (TDPRS) has contracted with the Center for Social Work Research at the University of Texas at Austin to evaluate the effectiveness of a tool designed to match children with special needs and prospective adoptive parents. McRoy (1997) identified the need to improve assessments and to better match adoptive families with CPS children who are waiting for adoption in a study on adoption dissolution in Texas. This study provided the concepts behind developing these matching tools for special needs children and families interested in adopting them.

This five-year evaluation was originally a component of the Title IV-E Waiver Demonstration Project that was funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, but is now self-funded by TDPRS. In the first four years of the project, the target population was children and families who live in the Houston area of Texas. The project is currently expanding into the Austin area. Both foster children and prospective adoptive families are evaluated under the assessment model. The target foster children from are those children who have a validated abuse or neglect finding and have a plan of adoption. The eligible prospective families are those who reside in the Houston or Austin areas, are interested in adopting those special needs children described above, and have completed the requisite pre-service training.

The process evaluation includes interviews and surveys with TDPRS staff members and staff members from private adoption agencies on their perception of the training on the matching tool and their use of the tool. Interviews are also being conducted with those who have submitted a tool and who have received feedback on the child or family who was assessed with the tool. Previous project years have included assessments of adoption practices and procedures around the state, the development and functioning of adoption preparation units, statewide observations of meetings where children and families are matched for adoption, and analysis of contextual factors affecting adoption procedures in Texas.

Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services