November 2004Vol. 5, No. 9Postadoption Services Improve Family Stability and Functioning
In a study of efforts to support New York State's TANF-eligible families after adoption, parents reported a significant positive impact of postadoption services on their families' happiness and ability to stay together. The study, "Strengthening and Preserving Adoptive Families: A Study of TANF-Funded Post Adoption Services in New York State," was published in April 2004.
Thirteen community-based agencies were awarded TANF funds in June 2000 to establish Regional Adoption Centers and provide postadoption services. The study is based on data from worker-completed intake forms and from parent satisfaction surveys sent to 815 of the 1,053 families (both TANF and non-TANF eligible) who were served during the first 18 months of project funding. The author cautions that a low overall response rate (19 percent, or 153 surveys) limited the type of analyses that could be performed with the data.
Some key findings include:
- 29 percent of responding families reported that when they first contacted the agency they felt one or more of their children could not continue living with them.
- Among the families that had a child at risk of no longer being able to live with the family, 73 percent reported that the child was able to remain in the home as a result of the help and support they received from the agencies.
- Of all respondents, 82 percent indicated that their family was better off or happier as a result of receiving services.
- The most frequently requested and used services were parent support groups, parent training, and counseling.
Characteristics of the families served by the project varied. Approximately 58 percent of the families were nonkin adoptions, 26 percent were kin adoptions, and in 16 percent of cases the relationship could not be determined. Nearly 62 percent of the cases were known to be adoptions from foster care; in another 28 percent of cases the type of adoption was not identified. The majority of the children had special needs, including behavioral problems (40 percent) and emotional problems (36 percent). These special needs appeared to become more prominent as the children aged.
Report appendixes include information on the services provided by participant agencies, the survey instruments, and extensive verbatim survey responses by families. The report can be downloaded from the New York State Citizen's Coalition for Children website at http://nysccc.org/wp-content/uploads/tanfaverypasrpt.pdf (PDF - 400 KB).