ABSTRACT

The child welfare grapevine has recently been buzzing with estimates that as many as 50% of all older child adoptions disrupt. Other informal estimates have been a bit more reassuring, but still indicate that a large proportion of older child adoptions fail. “We recently heard from adoption agencies in the New York City area that they are estimating their disruption rate to be approximately 35 percent” (Children’s Home Society of California, 1984, p. 74). Systematic evidence on the rates of disruption and disruption’s correlates are slowly accumulating. This chapter reviews key studies of disruption rates and family, child, and service contributors to disruption. A few studies have attempted to estimate disruption rates, whereas others have compared disrupted to stable placements. Our study does both and so we address both issues in turn.