Enhancing adoptive parenting
Publication date: 2009
ISBN: 978 1 905664 64 1
Enhancing Adoptive Parenting is part of the Department for children, Schools and Families’ Adoption Research Initiative, which is examining how the Adoption and Children Act 2002 in England and Wales, and various related policy initiatives are being translated into local policies, procedures and practice. It is also assessing outcomes for children who have recently been placed for adoption or in other permanent placements, and assessing outcomes for their families. Enhancing Adoptive Parenting focuses on post-adoption support.
We know the problems many adopters face in parenting older children placed with them from the care system. But we need better evidence about effective post-placement help. This adoption support study describes the setting up of the first rigorous test in the UK to discover whether the addition of one-on-one parenting advice sessions made a difference compared with a comparison group receiving routine support services.
The study reports on the adopters’ perception of the preparation they received to manage the broad range of difficulties the children were presenting. It covers the rationale and content of the two specially devised parenting advice programmes employed in the research and we learn both what the adopters thought of the parenting advice and what the parent advisers thought about delivering the programmes.
The heart of the book presents a comparison of the intervention and control group outcomes for the adopters and their children. It describes how the parenting approaches and behaviour of adopters changed in the intervention groups and what happened to the children’s behavioural, emotional and social difficulties.
This study presents a bold attempt to evaluate systematically the outcomes of well-defined adoption support by using a randomised controlled trial. Conducting a trial in the “real world” of children’s services and adoptive families proved complex for the researchers. Many lessons can be learnt from their account of some of the challenges they faced. Much can also be learnt from the study’s findings for the development of future adoption policy and practice. These findings should be of interest to all those who are working to improve the outcomes for, and well-being of, adopted children and to those involved in providing support to adoptive families.
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