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It is very common for adoptive families to need supportive services after an adoption is finalized. Often, when a child is adopted, they may have some identified needs but more often, unidentified or unknown needs can develop later in the adoption process which require specialized skills and services to adequately address. Post Adoption Services (PAS) can be helpful to all members of the family and can assist with a wide range of issues. Families may need help with issues such as loss and grief, trust and attachment, identity formation, family dynamics and adoption adjustment, effects of early childhood trauma, health issues, developmental delays, school behaviors or learning delays, or transracial/ transcultural adoption. Research studies on PAS programs in Nevada and New York (2004) show that accepting and participating in such services can improve family stability and functioning as well as have a positive impact on family happiness and the ability to stay together.
In the United States and its territories, all offer some type of Post Adoption assistance to families. In many cases, these services are free due to federal and state funding sources. However, each state has the ability to designate how their funds are allocated and who is eligible to receive the services; thus, they can vary from state to state. They are usually administered by each state’s county or state child and family services offices and the services can be individually delivered to families by selected private agencies, community mental health centers, adoption support centers, and/or parent associations. To access information on general PAS services offered by each state/territory, click here.
Services offered can range greatly from one state to the other and are dependent upon availability and access to the PAS service provider, the type of programs offered and the funding sources available. Common types of Post Adoption Services offered include: Support Groups, Camps, Social Events, Therapy, Respite Care, Educational and Informative Resources, Workshops and Conferences, Case Management, Advocacy, Lending Libraries, and Comprehensive Assessments.
In Indiana, the home of MLJ Adoptions, the IN Department of Child Services recognizes that adoption is not the end of a process, but the beginning of a lifelong commitment for a family and child. Click here to contact the Indiana Special Needs Adoption Program (SNAP) and speak with a Program Specialist. The Specialist will make a referral for PAS services. Individual family services will be delivered by one of the three private agencies contracted by the state. Services will generally be initiated in-home, will include an initial assessment and you will assist in developing a collaborative plan of care with defined goals. Services are designed to be culturally competent, strength based and family centered. They are available to all adoptive families, including those who have adopted internationally.
Post Adoption Services can offer guidance, support and assist in the development of healthy family relationships. They can provide comfort when you are feeling overwhelmed or out of options. Most importantly, they can help you connect with other families in your area who share and understand your experiences.
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