TIES for Adoption
Project: Professional Development, Family Support, and Community Building to Promote Adoption of Children who were Prenatally Exposed to Drugs
Funding Agency: Adoption Opportunities Program, Administration on Children, Youth and Families
Lead Organization: Adoption Division, Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), County of Los Angeles
Subgrantee: Department of Pediatrics, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Principle Investigators: Sara Berman, MSW, DCFS Adoptions Division, and Neal Halfon, MD, MPH, UCLA Department of Pediatrics/Community Health Sciences
Project Director: Susan B. Edelstein, MSW, LCSW
Adoption Division Liaison: Joseph Prusak, MSW
Award Number: 90-CO-0743
Funding Period: 10/01/95 - 09/30/97
A partnership between the Adoptions Division, Department of Children and Family Services (DCSF), County of Los Angeles, and the Department of Pediatrics, University of Los Angeles, this model demonstration project has the goal of improving adoption services to infants and children who were prenatally exposed to alcohol and/or other drugs. Through a coordinates and multifaceted approach coordinating professional development, family support, and community building, the program will promote the successful adoption and healthy growth and developmetn of infants and children who were prentally exposed to alcohol and/or other drugs, who are in the foster care system, and whose permanent plans do not involve living with their biological families or with relatives.
At the conclusion of the two-year grant period and following formal evaluation of all program components, project staff with have completed written curricula to facilitate replication of the model, a monograph describing the evaluation of program components, a community resource directory, and presentations contributing to the currently limited knowledge base regarding adoption of children who were prenatally exposed to drugs.
Ties for Adoptions
Support Services for Adoptive Families
Following participation in the three additional TIES for Adoption MAPP session and prior to adoptive placement, families desiring additional guidance may participate in one or two individual one-hour consultation sessions with the project director and/or health/child development coordinator. Depending on specific concerns, sessions may focus on an individual child already in the parents’ care or who has been presentes as a prospective adoptive child, or they may focus in more general questions to help parents determine whether adopting a child with prenatal substance exposure is an appropriate option for them.
Post-Placement Services for Adoptive Families
A continuum of post-placement services will be offeres to adoptive parents/couples following completion of the first and/or second enhanced MAPP session(s) each year. To help parents integrate children wirh prenatal alcohol and/or drug exposure into their families, program services will include:
- Professional Development: In the domain of professional development, discipline-specific curricula will be developed to educate adoption professionals as well as attorneys and judges regarding special issues involves in adoption of infants and children who were prenatally exposed to drugs.
- Family support: Family support activities will include a pre-adoption education and consultation program to prepare couples and individuals who are considering adopting children with prenatal substance exposure. A continuum of supportive placement and post-legal-adoption services will also be developed, including developmental follow-up, early intervention, behavioral mangement, and educational advocacy for children as well as counseling, support groups, and legal assistance for parents.
- Community building: Professional development and family support efforts will contribute to community building through development of a resource network that will bolster families as well as support service providers. Additionally, community building will be promoted through development of a cross-training curriculum for community-based child welfare, health and mental health, substance abuse treatment, and developmental disabilities specialists.
- Support Groups: Facilitates by a professional and an experienced adoptive parent, and using invited interdisciplinary team members to address expressed topics of interest for participants, this group will meet once a month at the Adoptions Division for two-hour sessions throughout the supportivr service period.
- Individual consultation: Individual consultation may address any or all of the following areas:
- Health/Child development: At no cost to families, the health/child development coordinator will offer information and anticipatory guidance about developmental evaluations, health, potential etiologies of conditions/behaviors that are of concern, etc.
- Educational placement: At no cost to families, the educational coordinator will help parents evaluate and interpret child play behaviors, peer interactions, responses to directions from adults, responses to transitions and changes in routine, etc. Staff will also help with the educational strategies, referrals for community programs, and navigating early education/special education systems.
- Individual/Family counseling: At low or no cost to families (based on ability to pay), the mental health coordinator will offer individual/family counseling for parents and children experiencing undue stress related to adding a new family member through adoptive placement.
- Behavior management: Depending on children’s ages and identified problems, th eeducational, mental health, and/or health/child development coordinators will provide individualized consultation to help parents better understand and deal with difficult behaviors. Services will be provided at no cost, or low cost depending on families’ ability to pay.
- Legal and educational advocacy: When advocacy is essential, the legal consultants will provide pro bono assistance in finalizing adoptions and pursuing needed saervices such as special education and respite care.
- Transitional support: In consultation with families’ individual case workers, the project director and Adoptions Division liaison will assure that families are connected with appropriate community resources on completion of the program.
Lauren Cherman, MPH
UCLA School of Public Health
Last updated 7/17/97