Foster care, adoption, Child Development Accounts, adoption subsidies


Adoption is arguably the most powerful intervention available for children in foster care who are unable to be restored to their birth families. Adoption promises stability and a family for life, in contrast to foster care or guardianship, which are expected to end when the child reaches adulthood. In comparison to foster care, adoption is associated with better educational, financial, and social outcomes. However, because children adopted out of foster care have had adverse experiences, they may have additional support needs in later years. These unknown costs can be off-putting to potential adoptive parents, who may not be in the financial position to pay for costly services which may be needed to address trauma and support psychosocial functioning. To address this issue, countries such as the U.S., U.K., and the state of New South Wales in Australia have introduced adoption subsidies and allowances for adoptive families. This article suggests that financial supports for adoption could be extended by introducing Child Development Accounts for children adopted from foster care. Child Development Accounts have been used to encourage savings among youth in foster care and other target populations. These programs function by providing matched funds for purposes enabling positive development. The paper argues that Child Development Accounts for children adopted from care could potentially benefit a highly-vulnerable group of children and support them to access services and achieve more positive life outcomes.

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