Some problems may present later or increase with time
Milestones and child development may exacerbate or reinitiate problems or reactions
Overview and Background: What are Post-Adoption Services?
Post-adoption services (PAS) are specialized services to provide parents of adoptive children possessing emotional, behavioral, medical, or learning problems due to prior abuse or neglect.
Provides support and addresses unique needs of adoptive children in the context of the family
Improves family dynamics and addresses unique needs of adoptive children while they remain at home
Overview and Background: Why are post-adoption services needed?
Demands placed on families by needs and problems experienced by some adoptive children may result in adoptive children being served in residential treatment placements if no supports and resources are available to parents.
“ Adoptive parents can feel overwhelmed by the transition”
PAS supports families and children within the family structure
Reduced likelihood of adoption disruption and adoption dissolution
May increase rate of adoption out of foster care
Overview and Background: The Current Problems are…
Most funding for services provided in foster care are eliminated at adoption
PAS are not equally available to all families in NYS
Lack of services negatively impacts adoption permanency in many ways
Expansion of regionally available services are needed
More PAS training programs and trained providers needed
Inadequate data collection and tracking systems
Funding for existing PA Services in NYS are in jeopardy of being eliminated in the current budget process.
Overview and Background: What happens to families when post-adoption services are not available ?
Increases in residential treatment placements
Reductions in adoptions from foster care
Adoption disruptions (temporary removal from family to receive residential treatment/return to foster care)
Adoption dissolutions (adoption failure after finalization)
PAS in NYS
Beginning in 2000, PAS services were offered through the development of Prevention and Post-Adoption Programs funded through RFP process
Program is subject to annual budget appropriations
Funding comes 100% from Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) funds
Currently, 13 regional programs are in existence throughout NYS
PAS in NYS: Where are post-adoption services currently available?
Regional PAS Service Locations:
Western NY: 2
Central NY: 1
Capital Dist.: 1
Implementing PAS in NYS
Regional structure generally supported as best approach
Gaps in service provision
Efforts to expand services impeded by economic crisis
Existing services concentrated in urban areas
Areas without regional PAS locations receive county supports which vary in services offered
Funding for PAS is complicated and conditional on appropriation
PAS in NYS: Types of Services Available
* Not all services are available from all providers*
Information about available services
Support groups (child/parent/family)
Advocacy services (negotiating the system)
Integrated services/training in integrated behavior plan
Referral and resources
Commonly Used PA Services
New York State Citizens Coalition for Children (Feb. 2010). Post Adoption Services Survey.
PA Services Needed and Not Available
New York State Citizens Coalition for Children (Feb. 2010). Post Adoption Services Survey.
PAS in NYS: Possible Funding Streams and the Current Funding of PAS
Funding for PAS is fragmented and conditional…
Some possible funding streams
Federal Title IV-E Adoption Assistance
Bridges to Health
Overview and Background: Cost-Benefits of Maintaining PAS
What does PAS Provide?: The Research
PAS are needed to help establish permanency despite any trauma-related difficulties that a child may exhibit
A loving home cannot overcome these problems alone
Many problems exhibited require specialized services to support the child within the social structures of family, school and community
Without specialized support, needs of the child may exceed capabilities of the parent
More research is needed, but supports success of PAS in increasing permanency
Adoption Permanency and Why it Matters
Permanency: achieving a lifetime of safe, healthy, and supportive relationships and connections for children
Lifetime family support and involvement
Family intimacy, belonging, familial status (connections)
Critical for positive growth and development
Can be achieved for children in foster care through adoption
When permanency is not achieved, negative consequences may occur
Social/emotional difficulties into adulthood
Homelessness, incarceration, substance abuse, under-education, reentry into system as an adult
Other Factors Affecting Permanency: Gender, Race, Class & PAS
Class plays a direct role in availability of post-adoption services
Adoptions from foster care can often lead to the establishment of transracial families, affecting the adjustment of the adoptive child and family beyond existing issues. Discrimination and lack of available services based on race can be a factor, especially for males.
Being male or being the only adoptee in a family of birth children can increase the likelihood of maladjustment.
Stresses in parenting can also be sometimes linked to gender roles
PAS in States Other than New York: Models and Components for Expansion
NYS is one of 48 states offering some level of PAS
Services vary state-to-state
In most states, services are provided by private agencies, but some PAS is provided by state agencies
States identified as having the most comprehensive programs: Alabama, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon, Tennessee, and Utah
Programs are statewide, include the key components identified as needed by NYS families and have more comprehenive approaches to funding
Seeking Alternatives and Viable Solutions to Sustain PAS in NYS
Current focus: sustaining services and improving areas with negligible fiscal impact
Improving access to information
Prioritizing services to be sustained
Continued lobbying for funding restoration
Seeking out new ways to utilize existing funding streams (piecing together and rethinking “siloed” funding to provide resources to the greatest number of families)
Developing long-range plans to address short-comings of current system and plan for cost-effective expansion through a more comprehensive approach and new funding possibilities
Advocacy and Persistence
In the current economic crisis, small steps must be pursued to achieve incremental change
Constant advocacy is needed to keep the issues surrounding PAS “on the radar”
Non-appropriation actions must be pursued and supported to improve information and referral for services that remain
Current Legislation to Address PAS Need in NYS
Introduction of A.11175/S.8132: Post-Adoption Services Information Bill
Would require that family courts provide adoptive families with up-to-date information about available post-adoption services and their location by adoption finalization
Summary and Conclusions
Current economic sustainability of programs will not likely include preservation of programs at the current levels of service provision.
Vigilant and persistent advocacy is needed to keep efforts to address shortcomings of the current system in motion
PAS in NYS has provided assistance to many families in maintaining adoption permanency, but its shortcomings and tenuous funding structure need to be improved to achieve greater effectiveness and to reduce need to request appropriations for expansion and reorganization
Summary and Conclusions
A more effective model would include:
Greater interagency collaboration
Improved data collection systems to track movement of children when disruptions and dissolutions occur
A self-sustaining and dedicated funding structure
Expand services state-wide using a more structured regional model that would include community outreach and expansion into rural areas
The creation of social services training programs to improve and expand the availability of trained PAS workers
Amanda Lester, 2010 Fellow
Center for Women in Government and Civil Society
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