Special Needs Adoption: Characteristics of Children Who Wait

Sandra K. Nelson, Augsburg College


Children who have been removed from their birth parent(s)' care,

due to abuse, neglect, or other maltreatment are g:enerally placed in

one of several out-of home placement arrangements. The birth parents

of many of these children subsequently have their parental rights

terminated, and these children then become wards of the State. For

this thesis, case records of seventy children who are wards of the

State of Minnesota receiving services from the Hennepin County

Children and Family Services Department Adoption Program, were

reviewed for the purpose of gathering descriptive information about

this population. This study found that, number of placements, length

of time waiting for an adoptive resource, and numbers of diagnoses,

labels. and services were greater for the older children in this

population. The findings suggest a need for minimizing the number of

placement transitions which children must make, as well as a need for

targeted, specialized recruitment of potential adoptive parents.