Discussion paper

Post-adoption support: a critical element in successful and permanent adoptions

14 Oct 2014

Under the current NSW Child Protection legislative reforms, there is increased emphasis on permanency arrangements including adoption and long-term guardianship orders.  

This paper provides an overview of the development of post-adoption support services in the US and UK; outlines research on the benefits of post-adoption support; and identifies the key elements of effective post-adoption support services. A growing body of research in the US and UK has found that quality post-adoption services support recruitment of adoptive families, promote family well-being and help to prevent breakdown of adoptions.

Effective post-adoption services offer a flexible mix of support options, including preventative support, and provide continuing support over time as they are needed by adoptive families. Service providers need to have a sound understanding of the unique aspects of adoption, the developmental impact of abuse, and experience in trauma-informed care.

NSW is at the beginning of a journey towards increased use of open adoption, while the US and UK are much further down this path. There is an opportunity to learn from their experience and avoid making the same mistakes. This includes building capacity in the system for provision of quality post-adoption support.

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