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  • November 2017
  • Vol. 18, No. 8

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Subsidies for Private Agencies Increase Adoption Rates For Older, Special Needs Children

According to a recent study, subsidies should be created to accelerate the adoption of older and special needs children from foster care and enable private contracting of this work for best results. The study analyzed the impact of public and private interventions in adoption services, as well as government adoption subsidies in all 50 states between 1996 and 2010, and considered variables such as attributes of the adopted child, adoptive parents, the state, and the adoption process. As described in the article "Privatization and Subsidization of Adoption Services From Foster Care: Empirical Evidence," the results led the authors to conclude that adoptions conducted through a private agency for young and healthy children were not as efficient as those conducted through a public agency. However, when cases involved older children and those with special needs, privatization resulted in improved and accelerated services. The study also found subsidization to be particularly successful for older children and children with special needs, while it was not a factor in the adoption of healthy babies.

The authors suggest limiting subsidies, however, to those adoptions that have historically proven more challenging (i.e., the adoption of older children and those with specific medical or mental health concerns). They also caution that contracting out adoption services is only appropriate when ample competition exists among agencies because that provides contractors with greater motivation to excel.

"Privatization  and Subsidization of Adoption Services From Foster Care: Empirical Evidence," by Joseph Deutsch, Simon Hakim, Uriel Spiegel, and Michael Sumkin (Children and Youth Services Review, 78), is available at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0190740916305795.

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