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THE ADOPTION OPTION Exploring Adoption as a permanent placement in the substitute care context. Frances Evans, Wesley Dalmar Research Unit LOOKING AFTER KIDS IN NSW FIRST

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the adoption option exploring adoption as a permanent placement in the substitute care context

THE ADOPTION OPTIONExploring Adoption as a permanent placement in the substitute care context.

Frances Evans, Wesley Dalmar Research Unit



“This review will put the needs of children & young people in OOHC first…focus DoCS efforts on adoption and permanency planning

in this state”

DoCS Media Release

4th July 2006



  • International Research
  • Australian Research
  • Consultation




what is adoption
  • What is ‘adoption’ in an OOHC context?
    • Ethical
    • Open
    • Culturally appropriate
    • Supported

One aspect of a ‘seamless spectrum’

why should we use it the evidence base
Why should we use it?The Evidence Base
  • Security & Stability
      • Legal
      • Emotional & Social
      • Flexibility
      • Breakdown & Disruption
      • Health and Well being
      • Parenting Factors
  • Non Welfare Based Model of Care
      • Children’s Views
who should we use it for research on placement decision making
Who should we use it for?Research on Placement Decision Making
  • The Child
      • Age
      • Behavioural & Physical
      • Needs
      • Birth Family
      • Cultural Heritage
      • The Child’s Voice
The Placement
  • Restoration & Contact
  • Family Characteristics
  • Types of Placement
how should we use it promising practice in service models
How should we use it?Promising Practice in Service Models
  • Concurrent Planning
      • Casework
      • Birth Family & Restoration
      • Decision Making
      • Resource Foster Families
Family Group Conferencing
      • Permanency Conference
      • Conflict Resolution
      • Participation
  • Casework Models & Tools
      • Adoptions Training
      • Legal Caseworkers
      • Birth Family Workers
Post Adoption Support
      • Practice Elements
      • System Elements
      • Types of services
  • Guardianship
      • Legally permanent
      • Flexibility
      • A middle ground?
where do we go from here




Further Discussion & Policy Development


Programs & Evaluation

Further Research

further research churchill fellowship 2006

A critical

evaluation of

adoption and

other legally



options for

children in


FURTHER RESEARCH:Churchill Fellowship 2006
  • particular attention will be paid to the unique needs of -
    • Children with additional needs
    • Indigenous and CALD children
    • Older children and sibling groups

Government departments, NGOs, university research centres and peak bodies in NZ, USA, Canada & UK in relation to:

  • Adoption, Guardianship & other legally permanent placements
  • Legislation and policy models
  • Casework and permanency planning practices
  • Recruitment, assessment and training of families
  • Legal processes
  • ‘Post Adoption’ support services

ReferencesACWA, 2005, Discussion Paper: Consideration of Adoption for Selected Groups of Children in Long Term Out of Home Care, AustraliaAustralian Institute of Health and Welfare; Child Protection Australia 2004 Available online Institute of Health and Welfare; Adoption Australia 2004. Available online Barth, 2000, Rights and Realities in the permanency debate, Children Australia, v25 no 4 2000, pp 13 – 17Barth, 1999, After Safety, what is the goal of Child Welfare Services: permanency, family continuity or social benefit? International Journal of Social Welfare, v8, pp244 – 252Brown L & Lupton C, 2002, Role of Family Group Conferencing in Child Protection, Bath Nuffield Foundation & Centre for Evidence Based Social ServicesCasey Family Services, 2002, An Approach to Post Adoption Services: A white paper, Washington USACashmore J & Paxman M, 1996, Longitudinal Study of Wards Leaving Care, Report of Research Commissioned by the NSW Department of Community Services, Social Policy Research Centre & University of NSW, NSW AustraliaCashmore, 2000, What the research tells us: permanency planning, adoption and foster care, Children Australia, v25 no4, pp17 – 22


Cashmore, 2001, What Can we learn from the US experience on Permanency Planning?, Australian Journal of Family Law, v15 no 3 2001, pp215 – 229Cashmore J & Ainsworth F, 2004, Audit of Australian Out of Home Care Research, ACWA Inc, Sydney AustraliaChild Welfare Information Gateway, 2005, Issue Brief: Concurrent Planning, What the Evidence Shows, Department of Health & Human Services Administration for Children and Families, Washington DC USADelfabbro & Barber, 2003, Placement Disruption & psychological outcomes: findings from the 3 year South Australian Longitudinal Study, 8th Annual Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne AustraliaDepartment of Health UK, 2000, Adoption: A new Approach – a white paper, The Stationary Office, Federal Government UKDepartment of Community Services NSW, 2006, DoCS Annual Statistical Report 2004/05Department of Community Services NSW, Children and Young Person’s (Care and Protection) Amendment (Permanency Planning) Bill 2000; Issues Paper, available online of Families Queensland, 2003, Discussion Paper: Stopping the drift: Improving the Lives of Queensland’s children and young people in long term care, Queensland AustraliaDoran L & Berliner L, 2001, Placement Decisions For Children in Long Term Foster Care: Innovative Practices & Literature Review, Washington State Institute for Public Policy, Washington USAEvan B Donaldson Adoption Institute, 2004, What’s working for children, a policy study of adoption stability and termination, New York USA


Fisher et al for Casey Outcomes & Decision Making Project, 1999, Improving the Quality of Children’s Services, AHS, WashingtonGoldstein J, Solnit A & Freud A, 1996, The best interests of the child: the least detrimental alternative, Free Press, New YorkHollingsworth L, 2000, Commentary: Adoption policy in the US – a word of caution, Social Work Research, v45(2), pp 435 – 446Howe D, 1998, Adoption Outcomes Research & Practical Judgement, Adoption & Fostering, vol2(2), pp 6 – 15Institute for Child Protection Studies, Good Practice for Placement Planning, ACT, AustraliaIvaldi G, 1998, Children Adopted from Care, BAAF, Russell Press, NottinghamKiely P, 2005, A longitudinal Evaluation of Family Group Conferencing, presented at the 9th Australian Institute of Family Studies COnference , MelbourneLutz L, 2003, Achieving Timely Permanency for Children in the Welfare System: pioneering possibilities amidst daunting challenges, NY Hunter College School of Social Work, National Resource Centre for Foster Care & Permanency Planning, NY USAMaluccio, Fein & Olmstead, 1986, Permanency Planning for Children: concepts and methods, Tavistock Publications, New YorkMaluccio, Ainsworth & Thoburn, 2000, Child Welfare Outcomes research in US, UK and Australia, CWLA, Washington DCMcDonald, Billings & Moore, 2002, Achieving Timely Adoption Placement, OKDHS Child & Family Division, Oklahoma USAMonck E, Reynolds J & Wigfall V, 2003, The role of Concurrent Planning, Making Permanent Placements for young children, BAAF, LondonNickman et al, 2005, Children in Adoptive Families: Overview and Update, Journal of American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 44:10 October 2005, pp 987 – 995


Office of the Children’s Guardian, 2004, Permanency Planning Issues Paper, NSW AustraliaO’Neil C, 2000, Support, timelines & hard decisions, Children Australia, vol25 no 4Parker (Ed), 1998, Adoption Now Messages from Research, Chichester WileyParkinson, 2003, Child Protection, Permanency Planning and children’s right to family life, International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family, v17 i2 2003, p147Parkinson, 2000, The Children (Care and Protection) Amendment (Permanency Planning) Bill 2000, Forum on Permanency Planning, ACWAPlunket R & Osmond M, 2004, Permanency Planning: Choosing Between Long Term Foster Care & Adoption, OACAS Journal, Spring 2004 vol48 no1, pp 7 – 14Potter C.C & Klien-Rothschild S, 2002, Getting Home on Time: predicting timely permanency for young children, Child Welfare, v81(2), pp 123 – 130Quinton D & O’brien K, 2000, The Beacon Council Scheme, Adoption Output 2 – Review of Issues & Research, University of Bristol, UKRath, 2001, Parliament of NSW Briefing Paper: Permanency Planning and AdoptionSchmidt-Tieszen & McDonald, 1998, Children who wait; Long Term Foster Care or Adoption?, Children & Youth Services Review v20 n1-2, pp 13-28Sellick, Thoburn & Philpot, 2004, What Works in Adoption and Foster Care, Barnardos, UKSelman P & Mason K, 1997, Alternatives to Adoption for Looked After Children, Scottish Executive, UK


Selwyn J, Frazer L & Quinton D, 2006, Paved with Good Intentions: the Pathway to Adoption and the costs of delay, British Journal of Social Work v36, pp561 – 576Testa, 2004, When Children Cannot Return home: Adoption & Guardianship, Children, Families & Foster Care, v14(1), pp 116 – 129Thoburn, 2000, A comparative Study of Adoption, University of East Anglia, UKThoburn J for ‘Making Research Count’, 2002, Briefing 5: Adoption & Permanence for Children who cannot live safely with birth parents or relatives, Research in Pratice, UKThomas C, Beckford V, Murch M & Lowe N, 1999, Adopted Children Speaking, BAAF, Russell Press, NottinghamThorpe, 2002, Examining the Evidence in Out of Home Care, ACWA Conference 2002Tregeagle, Voigt, Smith & Moggach,2005, Secure Legal Belonging: an important factor for children permanently removed from their families, Developing Practice no 12, Autumn 2005Treseliotis, Shireman & Mundelby, 1997, Adoption: Theory, policy & practice, Cassell, London UKTreseliotis, 2002, Long Term Foster Care or Adoption? The evidence explained, Child & Family Social Work, v7 2002, pp 23- 33


Web Based ResourcesThese sites have a wide variety of information – from research publications and data to placement decision making tools and program evaluations. Not to mention links to other useful resources!USA Child Welfare Information Chapin Hall Center for Children – University of Chicagowww.chapinhall.orgResearch In Practice Casey Family Services www.casey.orgBritish Association for Adoption & Foster