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November 2015Vol. 16, No. 8Supporting Families Who Adopt From Foster Care

Research shows that families who adopt children from foster care are able to meet the needs of these children more confidently when they are provided with consistent and appropriate postadoption supports. In addition, foster, adoptive, and kinship families who feel supported by their agency can serve as resources in the recruitment of prospective parents and provide prospective families with a support network.

A new publication from the National Resource Center for Diligent Recruitment at AdoptUSKids, Support Matters: Lessons From the Field on Services for Adoptive, Foster, and Kinship Care Families, provides information and guidance to State and Tribal child welfare managers and administrators and staff of family support organizations about the effective use of support services, including:

  • How promising support services can help with both recruitment and support of adoptive, foster, and kinship care families
  • Evidence-based or evidence-informed therapeutic services and techniques that have been used in conjunction with support services to help create healthier families
  • Data supporting the value of support services for children, families, and administrators
  • Tools and guidance for assessing the needs of adoptive, foster, and kinship care families
  • Implementing support services, including public-private partnerships and funding

The guide reminds practitioners that children and youth in foster care or kinship care and those who have been adopted from care face many challenges, and supportive services both help children overcome their challenges and assist their families in coping with the challenges their children face. It also explores the benefits of needs assessments and offers a tool for conducting an assessment.

Other topics addressed by the guide include identifying programs and services that have been shown to improve outcomes for children, as well as youth care and program models for building a child welfare system's capacity to provide support to foster, adoptive, and kinship families. The guide also presents a possible implementation strategy that features partnerships with family support organizations or other local nonprofit partners. Advice from the field on successful implementation of a new family support service or program is included.

Support Matters: Lessons From the Field on Services for Adoptive, Foster, and Kinship Care Families is available at