Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work


This descriptive study measures and analyzes the benefits and barriers of the adoption assistance program in the state of North Dakota. Data are drawn from a mail survey of the total population of 193 adoptive families, who adopted 250 children with special needs and who were receiving financial or medical assistance through the adoption assistance program in North Dakota as of October, 1995. The response return rate was 60% (116) of the families and was in regard to 65% (163) of the children in the program as of the specified date. Analysis reveals broad themes including the importance of monthly financial assistance and medical assistance in order for parents to adopt and parent a child with special needs. It is shown that the process of adoption assistance was clear for many families when they first applied but there exists a vagueness and secrecy about the program throughout the state. Qualitative and quantitative results are tabulated regarding the measured impact of potential cuts resulting in the loss or lessening of adoption assistance. Findings show that many families would have difficulty parenting their adopted children with special needs without the subsidy and the medical assistance coverage. Both support to adoptive families and professional advocacy by social workers is recommended to impact the decisions made about the adoption assistance program.


SC 11.MSW.1996.Thoreson.KD

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