How Do Post Adoption Services Help New Adoptive Parents
Post-Adoption Services Are Available!
Did you know that on any given day, 424,000 children are living in foster care? Of these 424,000 children in foster care, 122,000 are eligible for adoption, but the average child waits four years for their forever home if they are ever adopted.
If you've been considering adoption, what's holding you back? Are you worried about losing the agency's support you've been working with?
Did you know post-adoption services are available in Virginia to help you and your family transition? Keep reading to learn about those services and how they can help your family.
What Are Post-Adoption Services?
Adoption isn't always easy; it can be challenging at times, especially if you adopt children who have been the victims of various types of trauma or children with special needs. But every child deserves a chance to have a forever home. Post-adoption supports are put in place to help families provide that home and have the support they need before finalized adoption of children by the courts.
Studies have looked at families who received post-adoption assistance and found that 80 percent of families believe their lives were better because of the services they received due to the services and support they received. Around 30% of these families had children at risk of out-of-home placement, and 73% of these kids could remain at home because of the services offered.
Case Management Services
As an adoptive parent or foster parent, sometimes your case manager from the lead agency can feel like a lifeline. The support and information you get from them can be invaluable.
However, what do you do when the adoption finalizes and they're no longer part of your life? The good news is that the door doesn't close on the day of your adoption.
The Virginia Department of Social Services provides a full year of case management services to adoptive families to help with the adjustment after the finalization of the adoption. These services do not cost the adoptive family anything.
Depending on the area you live in, services might differ. Each local agency can tailor their program to meet the community's needs.
Some services that generally get offered for an adoptive family include:
- Information, referral, and advocacy
- Crisis support
- Training and Education
- Parent support groups
Information, Referral, and Advocacy
Part of your case worker's responsibility is to provide information and referral. Many caseworkers have a gold mine of information and resources stored in their heads, and having access to that information can make a big difference.
Your foster care program will also be essential for all families who have finalized an adoption.
Your caseworker can also help advocate for your family in many settings and, ultimately, help you learn how to advocate for your child. Please take advantage of this; it will help set your family up for success.
Adoptive parents might be superheroes, but even superheroes need breaks sometimes.
Being a parent is the most rewarding and difficult challenge you will face. Your child might require more from you as an adoptive parent, and the stakes might be higher.
Taking time for self-care is essential; if you don't take the time to care for yourself, you can quickly burn out. Being burnt out will impact your ability to care for family members and your child while they are in foster care and after adoption.
Respite care can give you temporary relief to care for yourself. These services are in place to help improve the stability of your family and reduce any risks of abuse or neglect. All post-adoption support services are in place to help your family be successful.
Would you know where to turn if a crisis arose with your adopted child? Your case manager can help connect you to crisis support in your area or come to your home depending on the services that have been agreed upon.
Crisis Support can include creating a plan to care for your child's needs in these moments. Your case manager can also provide support during that time.
Training and Education
What kind of training and education do you need for success as a new family? Your case manager can help provide some of this; they can also help to refer you to other services that can equip you with the knowledge you need.
One resource available to you includes free monthly webinars. The Strengthening, Your Family Webinar Series is given through C.A.S.E and covers a variety of circumstances that adoptive families might encounter. For example, their February 2022 webinar is titled "The Seven Core Issues and The Multi-Racial Family."
Parent Support Groups
It's essential to have support as you embark on the parenting journey. Your case manager can refer you to parent support groups.
Here you can talk to other adoptive parents who might be encountering similar situations and offer support and ideas for each other. It could be helpful to speak with a parent with years of experience. You could also help other families by sharing your experiences.
Family Counseling and Support
New families need to get the counseling and support they need. Centers like C.A.S.E offer counseling and education for adoptive and foster families.
In Virginia, they're located in Annandale in Arlington County and Sterling in Loudoun County. However, they also offer Video-mental health services to families in Virginia.
However, if you prefer a counseling program closer to home, your case manager can also help with referrals. Family counselors can help your family with the transition and growing closer. They can also help with any mental illness that may be occurring.
Your child must continue with counseling as well. Mental health treatment should be treated as primary care for a young child who may have experienced so much trauma in their short life.
Other Post-Adoption Services
There might be other post-adoption services available to your family. Services largely depend on where the adoption took place and the adoption circumstances.
For example, families who adopt a child other than a stepchild can claim a federal tax credit if they are under 18 or unable to care for themselves due to a physical or mental health disability.
If you're considering adoption, discuss your concerns with your case manager. They may be able to help you find answers as you seek to give a child a forever home.
Provide a Home for a Child
There are many post-adoption services available to support families considering adoption. Take the time to talk to your case manager about what might be available.
Are you interested in becoming adoptive or foster parents? Take the time to fill out our foster care application and allow us to guide you through the process.