Adoption from Child Welfare/Foster Care

A Family for Life: A Compendium of Effective and Promising Practices for Facilitating Adoptions from Foster Care

“A Family for Life: A Compendium of Effective and Promising Practices for Facilitating Adoptions from Foster Care,” is an important tool for everyone working in this critical field. This book was published in Europe in partnership with the British Association for Adoption and Fostering, and in North America with the New Brunswick Adoption Foundation in Canada. The research was funded in part by the New Brunswick Adoption Foundation. This compendium is available for purchase through

DAI chose to study permanency practices in the U.S., Canada and England because these three countries promote adoption or guardianship as alternatives for children in care who cannot return to their families of origin. Some specific practices are particularly important for providing children with the greatest likelihood of achieving permanence. This compendium identifies 22 innovative practices that have shown promise as a means to that end, primarily through adoption or guardianship, including organizational practices, court practices, recruitment and retention of families, pre-adoptive casework processes, and supporting and preserving adoptive families. This review will expand the knowledge and perspectives of adoption professionals, and introduce them to effective, tried and tested practices that will help achieve permanency for more waiting children.

Author: Susan Smith

Published: September 2014

A Family for Life: The Vital Need to Achieve Permanency for Children in Care

This Issue Brief is intended to provide a preview of and introduction to a book-length Compendium that the Donaldson Adoption Institute plans to publish in late 2013. It is based on extensive, years-long research throughout the United States, England and Canada on 22 specific practices that facilitate the adoption of children from foster care, and it provides a synthesis of knowledge related to these practices, research on outcomes and recommended resources.

Author: Susan Livingston Smith & Institute Staff

Published: April 2013

Never Too Old: Achieving Permanency and Sustaining Connections for Older Youth in Foster Care

This report explores initiatives, synthesizes research findings, and makes recommendations for better meeting the needs of the growing proportion of youth who "age out" of foster care each year – and face daunting challenges in their transition to adulthood.

Author: Jeanne Howard and Stephanie Berzin

Published: July 2011

Finding Families for African American Children: The Role of Race & Law in Adoption from Foster Care

This Institute report, endorsed by a broad range of national child-welfare organizations, is the most thorough examination to date of the often-sensitive, controversial issues relating to transracial adoption and calls for major changes to better serve the needs of children of color and to improve their prospects of moving to permanent, loving homes.

Author: Susan Smith, Ruth McRoy, Madelyn Freundlich, Joe Kroll

Published: May 2008

What’s Working for Children: A Policy Study of Adoption Stability and Termination

This study reports that the vast majority of adoptions from foster care are remaining intact over time and raises questions about the effectiveness of state data-collection systems on adoption disruption and dissolution. It offers recommendations for improving policies and practices in order to lower the number of terminations, increase the prospects of success for children currently waiting in foster care for permanent homes, and improve the daily lives of the adoptive families that remain intact but nevertheless encounter challenges.

Author: Georgia Deoudes and Adam Pertman

Published: November 2004