Adoption changes the lives of the children and families involved forever. Whilst providing nurturing new families for children can be extremely rewarding for adoptive parents, it also presents significant challenges. The pressure can multiply if a young child has additional needs that emerge after placement or that parents did not expect.
Research by the Council for Disabled Children explores support for young adopted children and their families in relation to special educational needs, disability and health. Realistic Positivity addresses the challenges for professionals in understanding and explaining the health and development of young care-experienced children, and the consequences when parents feel unprepared for their children’s needs. It investigates how adoptive parents seek help when concerns arise; how different agencies and professionals respond; and how support for children and families might be improved.
Findings from interviews with parents and professionals are considered alongside policy and available evidence. A range of ideas and practice recommendations emerge from the interviews and literature, mostly relating cooperation and communication.
Three publications are available:
- Realistic Positivity research report
- Summary report
- Briefing aimed at adoption practitioners and others working with adopted children and their families, including those with strategic and operational responsibility for services.
These publications are based on independent research commissioned and funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Children’s Policy Research Unit.