Press Release


Media Advisory: For Immediate Release


NEW YORK, Aug. 29, 2013 – As part of its ongoing efforts to improve the lives of children and families, the Donaldson Adoption Institute issued a new, research-based report today recommending that mental health professionals should receive more and better training on adoption-related issues.

The 63 page report, titled ” A Need to Know,” points out that one of the most frequent complaints from members of adoptive and birth/first families is an inability to find psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and related practitioners who understand the unique, adoption-related issues that can affect their identities, their relationships and other important components of their lives.

For a variety of reasons, mental health professionals typically do not receive the training required to fill adoption-related counseling needs and, too often, either do not fully understand why such training is necessary or mistakenly believe the knowledge they already have is sufficient. To address that reality, this report by the Donaldson Adoption Institute seeks to raise the level of professionals’ awareness about the nature and importance of adoption clinical competence, heighten their desire to receive such training, and identify various means by which the relevant knowledge and skills can be obtained.

“The negative experiences of some adoptive families in seeking help underscore the reality that therapists lacking adoption competence can, at times, do more harm than good,” said David Brodzinsky, Ph.D., the Institute’s Research & Project Director and author of the report.

The Adoption Institute’s recommendations in “A Need to Know” include:

  • Develop certification for adoption clinical competence, so clients know that the professionals with whom they are working have the requisite knowledge, skills and experience to meet their needs.
  • Expand training programs nationwide by replicating already effective models and through more use of technologies such as webinars, ” flip teaching” and ” massive open online courses.”
  • Develop outreach efforts to inform mental health providers about the need for adoption competency, the opportunities for enhancing their knowledge, and the benefits of doing so.
  • Educate insurance providers about the unique nature of adoption issues and advocate for expanded coverage, which would greatly help those who need competent services.
  • Encourage graduate training programs and post-graduate clinical training centers to include more information about adoption and foster care in their curricula, since so little currently exists.

The Adoption Institute is the leading research, policy and education organization in its field. Its 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 learn more about our work, go to

For more information about ” A Need to Know,” or about our work, or to arrange an interview, please contact  Chief Executive April Dinwoodie at 212-925-4089 or