• adoption services;
  • adoptive families;
  • special needs adoption

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.