Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

Department

Social Work

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Within the past few decades, there has been a concern for adoptive parents to be able to attach and connect with their adoptive children. For many adoptive or foster families, behavioral issues arise that can disrupt placements. Also, a lack of attachment between adoptive parents and their adopted children can lead to a dissolution of adoption and can also traumatize the child even more than he/she might already be. Attachment and behavioral problems are not just with adoptive families either; the problems are also with foster families and children who have experienced trauma. To help correct behavioral issues and prevent dissolving adoptions or disrupting placements and increasing trauma, research has been done to demonstrate the effectiveness of trauma-informed care strategies for both adoptive and foster parents. Along with preventing dissolutions and trauma, another hope is to free adoptive parents of the stress they are put under by their peers, family members, and society to be so-called “saints” and “super-parents” because of their decision to adopt. This stress leads to adoptive parents refusing to seek help or support for any challenges they may face in their families because they feel as if they should be able to handle these issues. This stress may also lead families to seek help from sources that could harm their children instead of help them. Adoptive and foster parents need to know they are not alone; help is within reach. Through a needs assessment, a review of the literature, and interviews, it has been concluded that the need for trauma-informed post-adoption services is great; community resources need to be provided by adoption, foster care, and child welfare agencies and schools in the form of trauma-informed post-adoption services. Services would include staff trainings, family workshops, counseling services, and teacher trainings. Spreading awareness of the need for trauma-informed post-adoption services will open the door for involving other agencies and helping children and parents on a larger scale to foster healthy family attachments and correct behavioral problems in these at-risk youths. Steps were taken to provide services to different agencies within the Bowling Green, KY community; at Potter Children’s Home and Family Ministries, we have begun providing trauma-informed post-adoption services to foster families in our agencies, and we have invited agencies, churches, and schools to be more involved in the process to spread awareness of the need for these services. Our hope is to empower diverse family groups – adoptive, foster, or biological – to establish healthy and trusting relationships with their children so those children can grow up and lead brighter futures.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Ms. Janelle Peeler

Disciplines

Family, Life Course, and Society | Social Work

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