• November 2007
  • Vol. 8, No. 10

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Improving Mental Health Services for Adoptive Families

Adopted children are at a greater risk of experiencing emotional or behavioral problems, which can take a heavy toll on adoptive families if they cannot obtain needed mental health services after the adoption is finalized. Postadoption services have gained greater recognition for their importance in supporting and preserving adoptive families to reduce the likelihood of disruption or dissolution. A new report by the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) explores strategies for expanding and improving postadoption mental health services for adopted children and their families.

The most common types of mental health services sought by adoptive families include individual and group counseling for children and families, crisis intervention services, and specialized children's treatment services. Studies show that families think postadoption services are most effective when they have the following characteristics:

  • Family-systems orientation
  • Services tailored for different types of adoptive families
  • A broad range of clinical services offered continually over time

The report describes a number of promising State postadoption programs and outlines several Federal funding sources that can be used to finance postadoption services. According to the report, strategies to maximize the use of both Federal and State funding and improve the quality and availability of mental health services for adopted children and their families include expanding the use of mental health funding to adoptive families, building agency commitment to families after an adoption, and strengthening adoption competency in community services.

Read the full report, Post-Adoption Services: Meeting the Mental Health Needs of Children Adopted From Foster Care, on NACAC’s website:

www.nacac.org/policy/postadoptpaper.pdf (PDF - 150 KB)

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