Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

Adoption and Foster Care

Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

Adoption and Foster Care

Article excerpt

On any given day in the United States, nearly 450,000 infants, children, and adolescents find themselves in the foster care system, with approximately 123,000 awaiting permanent adoptive homes. In an attempt to shine light on this vulnerable population, President Clinton, in 1995, proclaimed November as National Adoption Awareness Month. Since 2000, a specific National Adoption Day has emerged. This collective, national effort, held annually on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, is an open-court day in which judges and their staff, law firms, and foster care agencies volunteer their time to finalize adoptions. Last year alone, the finalization of nearly 4,000 adoptions occurred on this one day.

The NASP Adoption and Foster Care Interest Group offers a forum for school psychologists to share resources, research, and guidance to support this at-risk population and their families in the schools. It is important to note that there are three distinct personal viewpoints in the triad of adoption and foster care: that of the adoptive or foster care parent, the birth parent, and the child or adolescent. School psychologists may find themselves engaging with all three at any time in schools, including students who are preteen or teen birth parents. The viewpoints do not always converge, and so it is important to be familiar with available resources to assist each triad member in the most individualized and professional manner possible.

Editor's Note: The NASP interest groups provide a way for NASP members to share common areas of expertise and concern. Each article in this series highlights the activities of one or more of these groups. You can find a complete list of groups and join one by visiting https://www.nasponline.org/membership-and-community/get-involved/interest-groups.

The diversity within adoptive and foster care families is vast. This population of youngsters may enter temporary or permanent homes at any age, from newborn to nearing emancipation. Indeed, nearly one quarter of a million foster care children cycle through numerous foster settings throughout their young lifetime. Placement may occur individually or in sibling groups. The mix of family dynamics for placement includes traditional married couples, GLBTQ families, single/divorced/widowed individuals, and blended homes, including families with biologic, step-/half-, other relative, or other foster care and adopted children. The diversity expands further when considering differences in race, ethnicity, religion, gender identification, language, SES, and disability of the adopted or foster care child compared with that of those living in their placement homes. …

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