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Are we missing the match? Rethinking adopter assessment and child profiling

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Despite roughly equal numbers of prospective adopters and children for whom adoption is planned, there is a fundamental mismatch between the characteristics of the children available and the 'kinds' of children whom adopters want to parent. Applicants during the assessment process are invited to identify the age and characteristics of a future child. When so identified and recorded, adopters' 'requirements' rule out a wide spectrum of children from consideration. Barriers to matching are thus erected prematurely and inflexibly. Jennifer Cousins argues that the problem is compounded when children who need new families are reduced to a brief snapshot of special features, a process that tends to highlight 'deficits' and fails to portray the whole child. An approach that avoids hypothetical 'matching' categories and is led by the needs of the real child might be more effective. A new structure of assessment and linking is suggested, and comments are invited so that the model can be developed further.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2003-12-01

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