Barnardos Post Adoption Service Evaluation: Executive Summary

Mandi MacDonald*, Montserrat Fargas, Suzanne Mooney, Stephen Coulter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

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Children adopted from care, either internationally or locally, can have diverse, and often more complex, needs to their non-adopted peers. Many children adopted internationally from institutional care, or domestically from foster care, will have experienced significant early adversity, which can cause emotional, behavioural, developmental and attachment related difficulties. However, research also suggests that adopted children can and do thrive because of the high commitment of adoptive parents, their responsive parenting (Koss et al.,2020), and the availability of post-adoption support services aimed at supporting adoptive family relationships (Misca, 2014). Reinforcing the child’s network of caring adults is a crucial component of care for children who have experienced early adversity or childhood trauma, and systemic approaches are recommended to support children who experience trauma-related difficulties (Bath, 2008), meaning that support for adoptive families should be targeted at both individual and interpersonal levels. For services to be effective it is crucial that they are readily available to families in a timely manner. However, in a range of studies in different countries, adoptive families have experienced difficulties in accessing and availing of the services they need, when they are needed. In Ireland, the arrangements for the provision of adoption services have changed considerably over time, and with recent legislative reform, adoption is moving to a more central position within the child welfare system (O’Brien & Mitra, 2018). Thus, the quality and effectiveness of post-adoption services in meeting adopted children’s needs should be examined. In 2020 Barnardos commissioned the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work in Queens University Belfast in 2020 to evaluate the Post-Adoption Service to extend and deepen understanding of the value of the Post-Adoption Service model of work with participating children and parents, and to inform ongoing service development.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationDublin
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2021


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