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Research review: In a rush to permanency: Preventing adoption disruption

  • Author(s): Coakley, JF
  • Berrick, JD
  • et al.
Abstract

Since the late 1990s, US, UK and Canadian policy have increasingly focused on improving permanency outcomes for looked-after children. Although the ideal permanency outcome of reunification is attained for about half of the children entering out-of-home care, an increasing number of children are adopted each year. The vast majority of adoptions are stable and secure, but concerns about adoption disruption haunt child welfare workers when making this important permanency decision. Despite a variety of definitions employed in the literature, adoption disruption is a general term used to describe the failure or breakdown of an adoptive child's placement. Studies dating back to the 1970s have reported adoption disruption rates and the characteristics associated with those involved in such cases. This paper reviews available research, principally from the United States, and offers possible explanations for the wide range of reported disruption rates in the literature. After reviewing the research, practice implications for improving adoption outcomes and suggestions for future research are presented. © 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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