Factors affecting post-permanency adjustment for children in adoption or guardianship placements: An ecological systems analysis

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Children and Youth Services Review

Publication Date


Date Added



Despite a growing body of research on post-permanency adjustment for children adopted from public child welfare agencies, many studies lack a systematic review using a theoretical framework. To develop promising post-permanency services for adopted children with special needs and their families, the first step is to examine risk and protective factors affecting adoption or guardianship adjustment. This study systematically reviews and synthesizes current empirical studies investigating post-permanency outcomes using an ecological systems analysis, with an integration of family theories. A search of five electronic databases and relevant child welfare books identified 36 empirical studies on post-permanency adjustment. Risk factors include some individual factors such as caring for a child with special needs, raising children with a multiple placement or maltreatment history and involving parents with no parenting experience. Living in a family experiencing boundary ambiguity and lacking social support are also risk factors. Protective factors include having adoption preparation and having a child living with married parents, as well as a high level of adoption openness and the availability of formal and informal social support. Implications for child welfare practice and policy also are discussed.




Social Work