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  • July/August 2017
  • Vol. 18, No. 5

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Finding and Supporting Adoptive Families for Children in Foster Care

According to recent estimates, there are approximately 111,820 children waiting to be adopted in the United States, and more than half of the parents of these children have had their parental rights terminated. These statistics stress the urgent need to identify new strategies to find permanent placement for children in foster care as well as provide pre- and postadoption supports and services to the foster, kinship, and unrelated families who have chosen to adopt these children.

A special issue of the journal Adoption Quarterly includes articles that answer questions about how agencies find families for children needing placement; the experiences of these families and children before and after adoption; and the most effective recruitment, preparation, and retention strategies for families seeking to adopt from foster care.

The first article in the issue, "Factors Associated With Adoption and Adoption Intentions of Nonparental Caregivers," addresses the characteristics of nonparental caregivers who never considered adoption, those who considered but were not planning to adopt, those who are planning adoption, and those who actually adopted. The authors found that nonparental caregivers may be more likely to consider adoption if the caregiver is not related to the family and child, if financial assistance is available, or if a child welfare agency is involved in the adoption. Another article, "Preparing and Partnering With Families to Support the Adoption of Children from Foster Care," focuses on the effectiveness of a preplacement education and preparation curriculum, or PREP, for prospective foster and adoptive parents. The PREP curriculum is designed to educate prospective foster and adoptive parents about prenatal substance exposure, with the goal of increasing the likelihood that they consider adopting children in foster care who have been affected by prenatal substance exposure.

Other articles in the issue highlight the barriers to adoption, factors that influence how child welfare professionals depict foster children in photolistings of children awaiting adoption, kinship adoption and outcomes for children formerly in foster care and who were adopted by relatives, and more. This issue serves as a valuable tool for agencies, child welfare professionals, and other service providers by highlighting emerging trends and recent research findings on adoptions from care as well as imparting promising solutions for reducing the number of children waiting for adoptive families.

"Finding, supporting, and maintaining adoptive families for children in foster care," edited by E.E. Madden & R.G. McRoy, Adoption Quarterly, 20(1), 2016, is available at http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/wado20/20/1.
 

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