• November 2007
  • Vol. 8, No. 10

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Partitioning the Adoption Process

Different stages of the adoption process are associated with different predictors of timely permanence for children. A study published in the May/June 2007 issue of Child Welfare explores two different phases of adoption—time from removal to adoption placement and time from placement to finalization—to better predict permanency and gauge the timeliness of the adoption process.

Using 5 years of AFCARS (Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System) data from Oklahoma (from 1997 to 2001), researchers looked at records for all children with a case plan goal of adoption. They were able to conduct separate analyses for the time from removal to adoption placement, time from placement to finalization, and total time from removal to finalization. These phases were analyzed in terms of five predictor variables: child characteristics, child abuse or neglect history, placement history, system variables, and service delivery variables.

Results show that:

  • Length of time from removal to adoption finalization decreased significantly over the 5 years, primarily due to decreased time from placement to finalization.
  • Child and family characteristics and the history of abuse and neglect were much more predictive of timely adoption placement than of the length of time from placement to finalization.
  • Services can be improved and adoptions expedited if process components are analyzed and treated separately.

"Partitioning the Adoption Process to Better Predict Permanency," by Tom McDonald, Alan Press, Peggy Billings, and Terry More, is available in the May/June 2007 issue of Child Welfare:


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