• November 2011
  • Vol. 12, No. 8

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NSAP Reports on Adoption From Foster Care

Results from the first-ever National Survey of Adoptive Parents (NSAP) were published in 2009, shedding light on the experiences of thousands of adoptive families across the country. The data gathered in that landmark study continue to be analyzed, and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently released three new research briefs based on NSAP, including two that look specifically at families that adopted from foster care.

Conducted in 2007–2008, the NASP collected data from interviews with 2,089 adoptive parents, 763 of whom adopted from foster care, 781 through private domestic adoptions, and 545 through intercountry adoptions. The survey confirmed that approximately 2 percent of children in the United States are adopted. The initial findings were published in Adoption USA: A Chartbook Based on the 2007 Survey of Adoptive Parents.

The recently published research briefs look at more detailed aspects of adoption and the experiences of adoptive families:

  • Children Adopted From Foster Care: Child and Family Characteristics, Adoption Motivation, and Well-Being does more than analyze data on the number, age, and race of children adopted from foster care; it highlights unique information such as the satisfaction of adoptive parents and their reasons behind choosing to adopt from foster care. According to findings, 81 percent of children adopted from foster care have parents who would definitely make the decision to adopt again, and three-quarters feel the relationship with the child or children is warm and close. Regarding motivation, 86 percent of parents said the number one reason for adopting was to provide a permanent home to a child. Other top motivating factors included expanding their family (61 percent), infertility issues (39 percent), and wanting a sibling for a child (24 percent). Sixty percent of parents cited reduced cost as the number one reason for adopting specifically from foster care compared to other types of adoption.
  • Children Adopted From Foster Care: Adoption Agreements, Adoption Subsidies, and Other Post-Adoption Supports provides statistics on the percentages of children who receive financial and other types of support. The study found that 92 percent have adoption agreements with public agencies, and more than three-quarters receive monthly subsidies, although the vast majority of parents agree that they would have adopted the child even without the subsidy. Information on other types of support and how parents find resources is also included.
  • The National Survey of Adoptive Parents: Benchmark Estimates of School Performance and Family Relationship Quality for Adopted Children compared survey results from all 2,089 adoptive parents with survey results from a control (not adopted) group. Adopted children showed poorer school performance, and children adopted from foster care accounted for most of this disparity. Few differences in relationship quality were found.

Read the full research briefs on the ASPE website:

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