NACAC recognizes that there is a specific and large component of the adoption process known as “pre-placement” or “pre-adoption,” which covers the time period from the earliest steps to the date of placement. Effective pre-adoption practices are the foundation of building strong and successful permanent families. In all types of adoption, policy and practice should reflect an understanding of the needs of all parties to the adoption process (child/youth, birth family, foster family, adoptive family, tribe, band, agency, and social worker).
NACAC believes that foster, kin and adoptive families have a right to full disclosure of background information (non-identifying and identifying when needed or when agreed upon in an open adoption). This information should include but not be limited to information from family, agency, court, school, mental health, and medical files. Such information is critical to the success of placements. The comprehensive and continuous collection and permanent retention of information is the responsibility of the agency/authority with the child’s guardianship. There should be an active effort to continue collecting information from the birth family even after the child is adopted regarding social, medical information and contact information. Families should ask for and receive the child’s information prior to the adoption order being granted.
NACAC believes that agencies must ensure that proper preparation is ongoing throughout the adoption process. Worker training must include how to prepare and support each party to an adoption throughout the transition to adoption, including assisting birth parents and adoptive parents around disclosing information and discussing life story books with children and youth. States, provinces, and placing agencies have a fiscal responsibility to adequately fund preparation and support services, support manageable caseloads, and develop management plans so that the provision of these services is possible.