Friday, July 31, 2009

Family Preservation 2.0

We are a family oriented country. Family is often spoken of as a sacred institution that must be considered when legislation is written, whether it is a matter of health care or taxes.

In the world of adoption, family is two-fold; there are the children’s families of origin and the families who are created through the adoption process. We know that there is a need to preserve the family of origin if at all possible but when this is not the reality we turn to the families who will make a child a member of their family through adoption.

The need to preserve families, however, does not end with the success of adoption. There are many adoptive families who struggle to parent the child they have adopted, especially those who adopted children with special needs from foster care. There is a need again for family preservation. Post adoption support for adoptive parents is critical to the continued health and well-being of the child who is adopted and to the newly-created family.

On July 16th, Voice for Adoption, a national advocacy organization that the National Adoption Center helped to found, held a briefing for Congressional members on the topic of post adoption services. There was powerful and moving testimony by adoptive parents, adult adoptees and child welfare professionals about the need for increased federal funding for post adoption services.

Post adoption services can range from parent support groups to therapeutic counseling for families to the continued services of speech and occupational therapists.

Particularly in these challenging economic times, post adoption services are critical to keep families formed through adoption from foster care together and to encourage those considering such adoptions that the support and services they need will be there for their family after they adopt.

Throughout the years, the Center has consistently promoted and expressed support for post adoption services for adoptive families and our policy states, “The National Adoption Center believes that the availability and accessibility of post-adoption services are vital to adoptive family preservation and advocates that all adoptive families be informed of post-adoption services.” It is time to make post adoption services a priority and to support our belief that our society benefits from children who are raised in families, not foster or institutional care.

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