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Why COA Updated Our Standards for Adoption Services

Why COA Updated Our Standards for Adoption Services

This morning, COA published its revised standards for Adoption Services. The release represents not only the culmination of our efforts to align our standards with current adoption practices, but also our long-term, ongoing commitment to adoption as an important option for families both here in the United States and abroad. 

COA is actively working with states and agencies to implement the provisions and goals of the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA). By updating our adoption standards, we hope to provide an opportunity for adoption services to meet the same high goals set by FFPSA. That way, we can support both adopted children and their adoptive parents as they grow and develop into families.    

Notable revisions include more detailed standards on:

  • The home study process

  • The assessment of children’s needs, and

  • Preparation for adoption grounded in trauma informed practices.

The updates also include new standards that reflect the best practices to ensure that the rights of birth parents are protected and that their needs are met. 

These updates reflect the growing understanding of the impact that trauma and loss have on many children that have either been adopted or who are eligible for adoption. It is essential to prepare adoptive parents for the immediate and long-term support they may need to maintain stability, permanency, and well-being not only for these children, but also for the family at large. 

In Adoption by the Numbers, the National Council for Adoption reports that in 2014, an estimated 110,373 adoptions took place in the United States. This includes related adoptions, adoptions of children in foster care, private adoptions, and international adoptions. According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation‘s Kids Count Data Center, in 2016 there were over 117,000 U.S. children in foster care who were waiting for adoption.  Estimates suggest that there are millions of children abroad who are not living with their families, though there is fierce debate on how many of those children could benefit from international adoption. 

Without commenting on that debate, with international adoptions to the U.S. declining to the lowest rate of the decade--4,714--from the peak of almost 23,000 in 2004, it’s clear that there are many orphans abroad who could benefit from being adopted by American families. 

COA is proud to partner with organizations worldwide to improve adoption through updating our adoption service standards. We support organizations across the United States in their efforts to implement best practices and to continuously strive to improve outcomes for children and families.

Read my post The Story of a Standard: Updated Adoption Standards to learn more about our update process.

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