Key Message: Remember, Not Every Family Will Have an Unmet Service Need

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Child welfare systems need to counter concerns that proactively discussing the need for and offering services to adoptive and guardianship families will lead to an overwhelming demand.

Child welfare and related systems need to provide permanency services and supports that meet the varied needs of the diverse population they serve. Engaging families in services early in the permanency process will help children and families feel supported, strengthen caregiver competency, mitigate caregivers’ feelings of lack of preparedness and doubt, and create lasting social supports that can be leveraged long after permanency has been attained. No single response will meet the needs of every family. Some families will reach out when they experience difficulties, whereas others might be unaware that support services are available. Still others might try to manage challenges on their own, reaching out for support only when their family is in crisis. Regardless of when families request services, systems need to respond quickly and offer an array of services and supports to meet the unique needs of each family. Specifically, post-permanency services and supports need to

  • be available when needed, without any waiting times to obtain services;
  • be responsive to the particular needs of each family versus the idea of “one size fits all”;
  • be supported by policy at federal, state, and local levels; and
  • be delivered by staff with the expertise and training to adequately meet the unique needs of adoptive Child welfare and related systems must and guardianship families.

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