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Sharing Information with Families and Involving Youth in Their Placements

by Marge Snider

HAPPY NEW YEAR to all of you!  Hoping your holiday season has been safe, secure, and stable.  We are just days into the new year and that brings increased anticipation and expectation for more productive and hopefully future days and months ahead!

An important note of clarity.  You will find in both the November and December 2020 newsletter, the same discussion appeared entitled  ”What Makes a Good Match”.  This was no mistake.  I purposefully included it twice because it outlines qualities the adoptive family should have to successfully parent the child/children they adopt.  This was my attempt to emphasize the importance of what each family needs to think about and be prepared to offer anyone they adopt.

This month, January, we will be discussing “Sharing Information with Families” and  “Involving Youth in Their Placements”.

Information about the child’s history may be shared with a prospective adoptive family in a presentation meeting or electronically.  For families considering adoption from foster care and in some cases of inter-country adoption, the information is usually shared before any actual meeting with a specific child, so that the family can decide whether to proceed.

Sharing information serves several purposes:

  • Introduces background information about the child to the family

  • Provides the family with information regarding the child’s present level of functioning

  • Initiates the family’s self-evaluation process

In some cases, information is minimal, making it more difficult for families to make decisions about their ability to provide a nurturing home for a particular child or sibling group. Additionally, the ability of prospective parents to make good, thoughtful decisions may be affected by their eagerness, their reluctance to turn down a child, or their desire not to disappoint the worker or agency.

Workers and agencies have an ethical responsibility to share all nonidentifying information about the child and birth family with prospective adoptive parents.  Providing accurate and complete background information is important for several reasons:

  • It helps the prospective adoptive family make an informed decision.

  • It ensures that the child is placed in an environment that can meet his or her needs.

  • It ensures that the adopted person has a full and accurate knowledge of his or her family, medical, and genetic history.

  • It helps protect agencies and intermediaries from “wrongful adoption” lawsuits.

INVOLVING YOUTH IN THEIR PLACEMENTS

Ideally, older children and youth can have significant involvement in their permanency planning.  Using a team approach to permanency planning for youth allows them to participate as team members in the planning process.  Their involvement can include the following:

  • The identification of kin or other important people who may be willing to provide a permanent connection or even a permanent family.

  • Participation in teen conferences, adoption fairs, and other activities in which youth and prospective families are brought together.

  • Involvement in youth development opportunities, such as training and recruiting of prospective families.

Next month, “Placing Children with Families”, “Pre-finalization Services”  and  “Post-adoption Services”.  Until then, stay safe and well.


Share your Story with us…

Real stories are a powerful way for families to understand the benefits of foster care and being adoptive parents. Whether you are a birth parent, adoptive parent or adoptee, adoption changes you. Each time you share your story with someone, you will be reminded how all the pieces of your adoption or foster care journey came together.