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April 2019   |   Archive   |   National Adoption Month   

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A Prevention Approach to Post-Permanency Services —
A New Perspective for Practice

Adoption support and preservation services are essential to ensure well-being and long-term stability of children who are adopted and their families. Extensive research and field practice have indicated that postpermanency services can be implemented with a prevention approach that assesses and identifies factors before a family experiences the severity of a crisis situation. Unfortunately, experiencing a crisis without proper support and services may result in an adoption dissolution, which may have a detrimental impact to the child’s life and future. Therefore, it is crucial to empower adoptive parents to develop the skills and competencies to meet their children’s needs throughout the developmental stages and equip them to overcome parenting challenges.

The National Quality Improvement Center for Adoption and Guardianship Support and Preservation (QIC-AG) uses evidence-based models of intervention to address the pre- and postpermanency needs of adoptive families with the purpose to prevent discontinuity. The QIC-AG Permanency Continuum Framework has been adapted from the Institute of Medicine prevention model for behavioral health conditions that categorizes prevention by various levels of risk.

According to the QIC-AG, there are four distinct post-permanency intervals: universal, selective, indicated, and intensive services.

  • Universal prevention is focused on the general population of adoptive families and utilizes ongoing outreach efforts and engagement strategies to keep families connected to the program and aware of available services they can access when needed. 
  • Selective prevention targets families assessed as having higher levels of risk, specifically those who are showing signs and behaviors known to heighten risk. These families indicate a need for services or support but are not in severe risk of postpermanency disruption. 
  • Indicated services target families who are exhibiting behaviors known to heighten risk and have indicated a need for support services but are not at risk for discontinuity.
  • Intensive services are specialized to provide urgent and tailored services for adoptive families experiencing a crisis. This level of prevention is executed in response to a critical situation and are intended to reduce the impact by stabilizing and strengthening the family structure.

Providing a continuum of pre- and postpermanency services lays a strong foundation for adoptive families and children as they transition to build a new forever family together. The following resources include components of effective adoption support and preservation services that strengthen and provide critical support for adoptive families.


3 Resources About Post-Permanency Services

Plan, Prepare, and
Support to Prevent Disruptions

By the
North American Council
on Adoptable Children


Tennessee Focus: Intensive Services

By the Quality
Improvement Center
for Adoption and
Guardianship Support
and Preservation

Vermont Focus:
Universal Interval


By the Quality
Improvement Center
for Adoption and
Guardianship Support
and Preservation



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