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November 2023Vol. 24, No. 9Exploring and Supporting Identity Development in Adoption

This resource from the National Adoption Competency Mental Health Training Initiative (NTI) discusses the challenges around the question "Who am I?" for youth who are adopted and the importance of supporting identity formation. Many youth who are adopted may need extra support as they grapple with questions surrounding their identity and their place in the world. Mental health and child welfare professionals who receive adoption-specific training are best equipped to support youth and their families as they work through their challenges related to identity.

Filling in the Identity Blanks: Identity Complexity in Adoption explores ways to help families support adoptive youth in understanding and forming their identities, such as the following:

  • Encouraging parents to have honest conversations about identity with youth
  • Connecting parents to culturally appropriate supports to help them regularly incorporate a youth's ethnic and cultural background

One key takeaway from the discussion is the vital role of mental health and child welfare professionals with adoption-specific training. These experts are ideally positioned to provide the necessary guidance and support to adoptive youth and their families as they navigate the complexities of identity formation.

Access the full resource for more details and to find additional resources. Child welfare professionals looking to expand their skills and support the Family First Prevention Services Act and Child and Family Services Reviews' goals can explore NTI's free training.