Influences of Risk History and Adoption Preparation on Post-Adoption Services Use in U.S. Adoptions*


  • *

    This study was supported by the University of California at Berkeley’s Hutto Patterson Chair, the California Department of Social Services, Adoption Branch, the Berkeley Child Welfare Research Center, and the Hamovitch Social Work Research Center, School of Social Work, University of Southern California.

**Leslie H. Wind is Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Social Work at Boston College, 140 Commonwealth Avenue, McGuinn 207, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467 (

Devon Brooks is associate professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Southern California.

Richard P. Barth is Dean of the University of Maryland School of Social Work.


Abstract: In spite of the need for pre- and post-adoption support, studies indicate low levels of services utilization among adoptive families, particularly those involving children with special needs. This study examines the relationship between utilization of adoptions services and adoptive child and family characteristics, pre-adoptive risk history, and provision of adoption preparation services. A longitudinal survey of 560 adoptive parents reveals significant but differential influences of pre-adoptive risk history and pre-adoptive preparation services on use of both general and clinical post-adoption services over time. Findings support the need for long-term post-adoption services for adoptive families, especially for families who adopt a child with special needs. Implications for practice, policy, and future research are discussed.