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March 2005Vol. 6, No. 2The Collaboration to AdoptUSKids Research Project Is Recruiting!

Two studies are being conducted at the Center for Social Work Research, at The University of Texas at Austin, by Ruth McRoy, Ph.D., Principal Investigator. As a part of the larger AdoptUSKids initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Children's Bureau, the objectives of the research component are 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 (Study 1)
  • 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 (Study 2)

Families and staff are currently being recruited for participation and will be interviewed through September 2005; the project will conclude in October 2007. The ultimate goal of the research is to provide recommendations for improving special needs adoption practice.

For Study 1, 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 are being followed from initial inquiry through placement. The following participants are needed for Study 1:

  1. Families who are (all of the following): currently trying to adopt from the foster care system; first-time adopters; early in the application process; not trying to adopt a foster child who is in their home. Also, these families cannot currently have a child placed in their home for adoption.
  2. Families who applied to adopt a child from the foster care system and then discontinued the adoption process at any point from application to completed home study and final approval, and have not had a child placed with them.
  3. Public or private agency staff members whose job duties and responsibilities relate to adoption or the adoption process.

For Study 2, a 4-5 year prospective examination of a nationwide sample of 150 families who have adopted children with special needs is underway. Participation is needed from families who have adopted from the foster care system and (all of the following):

  • Who adopted a nonrelated child 18 months to 5 years ago
  • Whose adopted child was age 6 or older at the time of adoptive placement, and the child's adoption remains intact
  • Whose adopted child is currently under the age of 18

If you would like more information about the project, please contact the Project Office at (toll-free) (866) 471-7372 or FAX (512) 471-9514.

Ruth G. McRoy, Principal Investigator: (512) 471-0551 or
Susan Ayers-Lopez, Project Manager: (512) 471-0550 or