Press Release




NEW YORK, Feb. 4, 2008 – The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute issued a major new report today, Meeting the Mental Health and Developmental Needs of Adopted Children.” The report represents the initial phase of a broad, long-term Institute project designed to shape best-practice standards that will assist adoption professionals in the preparation and education of adoptive parents.

The principal recommendations in the report include:

  • More information about adoption and foster care should be incorporated into professionals’ graduate training programs, and better continuing-education opportunities should be developed.
  • Professionals should provide parent training/education both before and after the adoption; those who cannot offer such services themselves should provide appropriate referrals to their clients.
  • Professionals should provide a balanced, realistic view of adoption – focusing on appropriate skills and expectations generally, and on the unique needs of the child to be adopted in particular.
  • Because much of the current post-adoption counseling comes through community-based mental health professionals, they should receive better training in areas related to adoption.

“Our intent was to provide a roadmap that professionals nationwide can use to create more-uniform and effective curricula to guide their work in one important area of adoption – children’s mental health and development,” said Dr. David Brodzinsky, the Institute’s Research and Project Director, who heads its Adoption Parent Preparation Project. “In the future, we will provide additional reports on more subjects and, as a consequence, we hope to help all adoptive families succeed.”

The 18-page paper, called a Policy & Practice Perspective, will be disseminated to professionals across the country. It is also available on our website,; there is no charge for downloading or using the document.

The second phase of this project involves the development of a comprehensive set of curriculum modules for training parents on the mental health, developmental, and child-rearing issues related to adoption. The first of these modules, focusing on mental health issues in adoption, is being tested by practitioners and, after assessment and revision, will be made widely available later this year.

The Adoption Institute’s mission is to provide leadership that improves laws, policies and practices – through sound research, education and advocacy – in order to better the lives of everyone touched by adoption. To achieve its goals, the Institute conducts and synthesizes research; offers education to inform public opinion; promotes ethical practices and legal reforms; and works to translate policy into action. The Institute is nonpartisan, non-profit and independent of any constituency or cause.

For more information about this paper, the Adoptive Parent Preparation Project, the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, or any of its other studies or initiatives, please write to Dr. Brodzinsky at or to April Dinwoodie at