Each year over 100,000 foster children in America are waiting to be adopted. About 50,000 children will be adopted in any given year. Adoption is a life long journey for both the parents and child. For children adopted from foster care, this journey often requires trauma informed parenting that allows a child to grieve, heal and integrate into their adoptive family. Because of these unique needs, the Administration for Children and Families has funded a $23 million Quality Improvement Center for Adoption & Guardianship Support & Preservation (“Center”) located at Spaulding for Children, a highly respected non-profit serving children. The Center is a national project designed to promote permanency and improve adoption and guardianship support. The primary activity of the Center will be to work with six to eight child welfare agencies around the country to develop and test evidence based models of post-adoption support and services. Ideally, those models would then be distributed nation-wide for use by all child welfare agencies.
Under the leadership of Rowena Fong, researchers at the Texas Institute for Child & Family Wellbeing at the Steve Hicks School of Social Work will lead the program evaluation of the six nationwide sites. The evaluation will involve a complex strategy to complete a multi-site, multi-intervention study. Their work will provide new evidence on what post-adoption services and supports can best help families and keep children in stable home environments.
In addition, during the second year of the project, a literature review will be conducted that focuses on children at risk for behavioral and emotional health problems resulting from maltreatment and the caregivers supporting them. The review question to be answered is whether families that receive training, counseling, support and other effective intervention strategies aimed to regulate child behavior and help caregivers successfully parent have lower risk or occurrence of post-permanency discontinuity as compared to those who receive services as usual.