Adoption Triad

June 20, 2017

View past editions of Adoption Triad


According to U.S. Census data, in 2012, 2.7 million grandparents in the United States were raising their grandchildren. This month, Adoption Triad focuses on grandparent adoption as one viable permanency option. Although adoption may not always be the appropriate path for all families, grandparent adoption provides an opportunity to preserve biological family ties and decrease the risk of trauma from family separation. Grandparents who raise their grandchildren often pursue this avenue to obtain full parental rights and ensure children's eligibility for Social Security and health-care benefits. 

Federal and State laws have long recognized the importance of favoring child placement with grandparents or other relatives when determining the best interest of a child. In a number of States, agencies must specifically give preference to family members when making adoptive placements for children in their custody.   

Grandparents adopting grandchildren often confront unique legal, emotional, and financial challenges; however, child welfare professionals can play a critical role in ensuring that families are well informed about the sources of supports to meet their needs and addressing concerns related to their new parental experience.  

The resources below examine grandparent adoption from various perspectives, with a special focus on the availability of financial supports, relevant policy and practice, and approaches that promote successful family transitions and adjustment. 

  1. Review Adoption Assistance by State via Child Welfare Information Gateway and the Association of Administrators of the Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance.
  2. Visit the Grandfamilies website section on adoption for an overview of applicable laws, advocacy, trends, and personal stories from grandfamilies.
  3. View Kinship Adoption: Meeting the Unique Needs of a Growing Population (PDF - 523 KB), by ChildFocus and the North American Council on Adoptable Children, which draws attention to a range of issues that may affect family relationships, the importance of preparation and training, and strategies to achieve successful adoptions.



Marilena Lea, Information Support Coordinator
Child Welfare Information Gateway

Adoption Triad is distributed at no charge by Child Welfare Information Gateway (, a service of the Children's Bureau/ACF/HHS ( It provides adoption professionals with practical information to help them identify, recruit, train, and retain families for children and youth, and provides resources on all aspects of adoption for members of the adoption triad: birth parents, adopted people, and adoptive parents.

Other free subscriptions from Child Welfare Information Gateway are available at

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