Adoption Policy and Special Needs Children

Adoption Policy and Special Needs Children

Adoption Policy and Special Needs Children

Adoption Policy and Special Needs Children

Synopsis

This edited volume contains contributions from leading researchers, policy makers, practitioners, and advocates in adoption policy and practice. Topics covered include adoption advocacy, race and adoption, placement of older and disabled children, adoption disruption, adoptive parent recruitment, and policy related to federal adoption subsidy support.

Excerpt

This volume presents an overview of a subject area that has not received the attention it deserves. One need only look for references to special needs adoptions in the literature to realize that there are far more books and articles about infant adoptions and international adoptions. Although the number of foster children who have been adopted in the past two decades has increased dramatically, it seems to be a well-kept secret. When I began employment in a central office of a large state agency in the mid-1970s the agency operated an adoption exchange that produced only a handful of matches that led to finalized adoptions each year. There were larger numbers of foster family adoptions -- even then thanks in part to the availability of adoption subsidies -- but the overall number of special needs adoptions at that time was much lower than it is today. After a few years it was recognized that few matches were being made through the exchange, and a decision was made to initiate an adoption photo-listing service. This photo-listing service, New York State's Waiting Children, or the Blue Books, proved to be a highly successful mechanism for the adoptive placement of children of Color, older children, sibling groups, and disabled children with a wide range of physical and emotional problems.

Despite the dramatic increase in the number of special needs adoptions in recent years, the general public still thinks of adoption as related to infants. They probably have not heard about children like Dan, who was adopted as a teenager by a woman who teaches in a special education program in central New York State. They are also unaware that when children of Dan's age are properly prepared, their adoption provides much-

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