ABSTRACT

Child welfare workers have long understood the importance of judicious preplacement assessments of child and family and the fit between them (Bass, 1975; Bell, 1959). For new and fost-adopt placements, a collaborative assessment process in which the agency provides information to the family about several possible children, expresses interest in learning more about some children, and finally meets a child or sibling group has become the standard. This process differs somewhat for foster families who adopt their children, although in Meezan and Shireman’s (1985) study of such families, at least one-half of the foster families thought they would like to adopt the child at the time of placement. Given the increasing use of fost-adopt and foster parent adoptions, there is a growing concern about assessing the possible benefits of foster homes for children as adoptive homes. The study considered several issues related to the match between parental expectations and the children who came to live with them. We looked at parent and social worker ideas as well as at the assessment and decision-making process that was followed. We also consider preplacement services in this chapter.