The Postadoption Needs of Adoptive Parents of Children With Disabilities


Social Work

Date of this version


Document Type



adoption, postadoption services, disabilities, mental health


Adoptions of children with disabilities are considered special needs, due to the higher level of support needed pre- and postadoption by families and children for adoptions to succeed. Despite this fact, very few studies examine the specific postadoption experiences of families with children with disabilities. Using secondary analysis of a national survey of adoptive parents, as well as interviews and a focus group with adoptive parents in one state, this study examines families’ with adopted children with disabilities challenges and unmet needs after adoption, as well as the postadoption needs and experiences of adoptive families with children with developmental and intellectual disabilities and adoptive families of children with emotional, behavioral, and mental health disabilities. Findings indicate that families with children with disabilities do report higher rates of challenges and barriers to service access, and that this is particularly true in families with adopted children with emotional, behavioral, and mental health disabilities. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

Published in

Journal of Family Social Work