• November 2002
  • Vol. 3, No. 9

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Report Details Growth in Adoption Population Receiving Adoption Assistance

A recent issue paper, Growth in the Adoption Population, explores the possible impact of Federal policy changes on the future size of the foster care adoption population.

The authors, Fred Wulczyn and Kristin Brunner Hislop of the Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago, estimate that between 2004 and 2006 the number of children receiving adoption assistance will grow to exceed the number of children in foster care. The adoption population will continue to be larger than the foster care population well into the future (unless there are dramatic changes in the number of foster care admissions). As a consequence, Federal and State adoption assistance payments will approach total outlays for foster care board and maintenance within the next 10 to 15 years, depending on admissions to foster care during that period. If current trends continue, about 78 percent of the adoption population will be eligible for Federally funded adoption assistance payments, which, according to the authors' calculations, could mean outlays of $2.9 billion in 2020 (in constant dollars).

Conclusion and implications from this study:

  • The demand for services to support adoptive families should grow at a rate commensurate with the changing trends in foster care and adoption.
  • State agencies and the Federal government will have to allocate greater resources to children adopted from foster care in order to support permanency and well-being.
  • Even if foster care admissions decline between 2000 and 2005, Federal and State expenditures for foster care and adoption assistance payments can be expected to grow.

The full report can be found on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website at http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/fostercare-issues02/adoption/index.htm.

For additional reading on this topic, see the literature review Assessing the Field of Post-Adoption Service: Family Needs, Program Models, and Evaluation Issues, which is available on the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation website at http://aspe.hhs.gov/search/hsp/PASS/lit-rev-01.htm.

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