While we have made significant progress in the realm of child placement, however, we have done embarrassingly little in an area that virtually every mental-health and child-welfare professional agrees is of nearly equal or even greater importance: providing post-adoption services and supports that would greatly enhance the prospects for these children and families to succeed.Here's a link to the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute's report on post-adoption services.
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Studies are unambiguous about the multiple, complex deleterious effects on children of institutionalization (orphanages), especially for prolonged times. Research is equally clear about the negative impact on children of temporary living situations (foster care), especially when they are shuttled from one home to another for extended periods. In other words, many of the boys and girls for whom we have gotten so proficient at finding new families need mental health professionals, educational supports, and other help in order to heal. And, because love does not in fact conquer all, their new families need resources and services to enable them to help their children.
When state and federal governments do not provide such assistance, they guarantee that some of these families will dissolve, while others will be relegated to lives of constant struggle, marital discord, sibling distress, school problems, unnerving trauma, and, sometimes, violence. It’s a tough message to hear at this time of strained budgets, but the simple fact is that the human toll of not providing supports – or of cutting them, as many states are doing today – is incalculable.
And the financial repercussions are huge as well, since taxpayers are saddled with enormous costs when children are thrust back into the foster care system, wind up on the streets, are incarcerated, and so on.
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