This project is part of the larger AdoptUsKids initiative of the Children’s Bureau, and includes two studies:

Study One seeks to identify actual and potential barriers to the completion of the adoption process from the perspectives of current families seeking to adopt and families who have dropped out of the process, as well as agency personnel. A nationwide, purposive sample of 300 families from public and private agencies who are seeking to adopt children with special needs from the public child welfare system will be followed from initial inquiry through placement. Interview and survey data will be collected and analyzed to assess reasons why families do or do not follow through with a placement. Agency staff will be surveyed to assess their opinions regarding barriers and suggestions for change.

Study Two seeks to assess factors that lead to favorable long-term outcomes for families who adopt children with special needs, from the viewpoints of adoptive families and agency staff. A 4-5 year prospective examination of a nationwide sample of 150 families who have adopted children with special needs will be conducted. The team will periodically interview the adoptive parents, and standardized measures will be administered. Again, agency staff will give input to identify the factors leading to adoption success. The results of all data analysis will be contextualized within a comprehensive framework of knowledge regarding research in the area of special needs adoption and literature on practice, policy, and legal issues.