• March 2007
  • Vol. 8, No. 2

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Study Shows Reduced Adoption Disruption Post-ASFA

A recent study found that the risk of disruption of adoptions from foster care lessened after passage of the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) in 1997. There had been some concern among child welfare professionals that ASFA's required timeframe for termination of parental rights would cause some hasty placements of children that might lead to increased adoption disruptions. This study of almost 16,000 children in the Illinois child welfare system during the 3 years before and the 3 years after the passage of ASFA showed these concerns to be unfounded. In fact, the risk of disruption was 11 percent less for placements occurring after 1997.

Researchers also examined risk and protective factors for adoption disruption. Among the factors associated with higher risk of adoption disruption were:

  • Older age of the child
  • Placement of two or three siblings together (but not four or more)
  • African-American race of the child
  • Physical, behavioral, or emotional disability of the child
  • Placement with a nonrelative compared to kinship placement

The study's authors discuss the implications of these findings for postadoption services policy and practice.

"Where Are We Now?: A Post-ASFA Examination of Adoption Disruption" was written by Susan Livingston Smith, Jeanne A. Howard, Phillip C. Garnier, and Scott D. Ryan and published in Adoption Quarterly, Vol. 9(4). Information on obtaining a copy of the article can be found online:


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