Support for adoption placements: the first six months

Eva-Maria Bonin, Jennifer Beecham, Cherilyn Dance, Elaine Farmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Adoption can provide stability and improved outcomes for looked after children, but the support needs of adoptive families range from financial support to managing difficult behaviours and attachment problems. This study looks at the use of services and associated costs over a six-month period through data collected from nineteen adoptive parents six months after a child (average age twenty-three months) had been placed with them for adoption and at the patterns of service needs, usefulness of services and satisfaction with services, supplemented with data from twenty-seven families who were interviewed about their experience of post-adoption support. In line with previous research findings, the core element of support was provided by social workers and over a third of families received financial support from social service departments.
Involvement of specialist services such as mental health professionals and educational support was low, probably because of the children’s young age. Satisfaction with the support provided by social workers varied and depended on their relationship with the parents. The mean public sector cost of services was £2,842 (range £980–£6,270) and most costs were borne by children’s social services. These support costs compare favourably with other placement options such as children’s homes or foster care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1508-1525
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Adoption support
  • Adoption

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