The term disruption is used to describe an adoption process that ends after the child is placed in an adoptive home and before the adoption is legally finalized, resulting in the child's return to (or entry into) foster care or placement with new adoptive parents. The term dissolution is used to describe an adoption that ends after it is legally finalized, resulting in the child's return to (or entry into) foster care or placement with new adoptive parents.
Finding families for children who have experienced an adoption dissolution or disruption may be particularly challenging. The section below provides resources to help children and families with this experience, as well as resources for caseworkers to prevent and/or manage adoption disruptions or dissolutions. Postplacement services may be helpful in preventing disruptions or dissolutions.
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Child Welfare Information Gateway
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Building Strong Families: Advancing Post-Adoption Services
The Donaldson Adoption Institute & Adoptive and Foster Family Coalition of New York (2017)
Seeks to raise awareness and provide information and updates on advocacy efforts to mandate and streamline quality post-adoption services to preserve and strengthen adoptive families.
Intervention and Program Catalog
Quality Improvement Center for Adoption & Guardianship Support and Preservation (2017)
Identifies evidence-based or evidence-informed programs and practices that can be used to address the needs of children in foster care both pre- and postpermanency.
Keeping the Promise: The Case for Adoption Support and Preservation (PDF - 1,530 KB)
The Donaldson Adoption Institute
Shares findings from a study that investigated the long-term stability of domestic adoptions from foster care through the collection of data from eight States that have information on postadoption stability and through a new analysis of national Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System data.
Responding to Rehoming: Protecting Children & Strengthening Adoptive Families (PDF - 519 KB)
Center for Adoption Support and Education, Child Welfare League of America, Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, The Donaldson Adoption Institute, North American Council on Adoptable Children, & Voice for Adoption (2015)
Focuses on the need for greater protections for adopted children nationwide, through improved policies to prepare families for adoption and increased and coordinated investments in support services after adoption. An appendix includes a chart that details the home study process, parental preparation, and postplacement services under child welfare adoption, Hague international adoptions, and non-Hague adoptions.
Risk & Protective Factors for Discontinuity in Public Adoption and Guardianship: A Review of the Literature (PDF - 8,402 KB)
National Quality Improvement Center for Adoption & Guardianship Support and Preservation (2017)
Synthesizes current research in order to analyze child, family, and agency risk factors that contribute to discontinuity in adoption.
Supporting Children and Families When Adoption Dissolution Occurs
Bergeron & Pennington (2013)
National Council for Adoption
Adoption Advocate, 62
Focuses on adoption dissolution and includes observations on how dissolution and re-adoption occur, as well as offers suggestions reflecting practices that may be helpful to the parties involved.