Relationship between Disabilities and Adoption Outcomes in African American Children

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Journal of Child and Family Studies

Publication Date


Date Added



Although many children adopted from the public child welfare system have special needs, little is known about the experiences of African American adopted children with disabilities and their families. The purpose of this study is to explore different categories of disabilities, including chronic health issues; emotional, mental, or behavioral (EMB) disorders; and intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDDs) on adoption outcomes in a sample of African American children. Data were from the Post-Permanency Round II Survey collected in 2008. A random sample of 412 adoptive parents or legal guardians self-reported their children’s disability diagnoses and family caregiving experiences. Hierarchical regression modelling was used to investigate the relationship between child disability and child and parental outcomes. Results indicated that chronic health issues (β = .10, p < .05), EMB disorders (β = .16, p < .01), and IDDs (β = .12, p < .05) were positively associated with parental burden. In addition, asthma (β = .10, p < .05), from the larger physical health issue category, was also associated with parental burden. However, none of the disability categories was significantly related with caregiver commitment or adoption dissolution. Future research should disentangle the definitions of special needs or disabilities.




Social Work