Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work


The number of children in foster care continues to rise despite an emphasis on permanency planning in the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980 (P.L. 96-272). Adoption, one type of permanency, is identified as the plan for 15% of children in foster care throughout the U.S., according to the American Public Welfare Association. Individual states, however, may differ greatly from the national figure. This study was undertaken to assess state efforts to use adoption as a permanency plan. Surveys of data across years 1988-1993 were sent to 51 state foster care system supervisors (each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia). Twenty-seven surveys were returned, a 53% response rate. Variables analyzed included whether foster care systems were county or state administered, worker caseload size, and the use of focused adoption programs. Survey data was incomplete for the earlier years, but by 1993 surveys indicated varied commitment to the use of adoption as a permanency plan for children in foster care. Among respondents, by 1993 foster children in New Mexico were most likely in 1993 to have adoption as their permanency plan (35%) and those in Missouri were least likely (4% in 1993). However, among foster children with adoption as their plan, those in Vermont were most likely in 1993 to attain a finalized adoption (34%), compared to those in Missouri, who were least likely (4% in 1993).


SC 11.MSW.1995.Cook.WG

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Social Work Commons