Adoptive and Foster Parent Screening
A Professional Guide for Evaluations
Screening applicants for adoption or foster homes has life-altering consequences for the children involved, yet there are incredibly few programs available to train screeners. The educational system that certifies thousands of social workers each year does not understand the specialized training required to screen adoptive and foster parents; social work schools provide minimal interview training and what training they do provide focuses on therapeutic interview techniques rather than screening skills. There is a clear need for a book like Adoptive and Foster Parent Screening, one that can be incorporated into course requirements and used by working social workers and psychologists involved with adoption and foster parent screening.
Adoptive and Foster Parent Screening, written by a former social worker, who has placed hundreds of children into adoptive and foster homes, and a clinical psychologist, meshes the best of psychology and social work experience into a definitive guide for screening adoption and foster home applicants. The book provides information on:
- evaluating aberrant behavior and unhealthy parenting attitudes
- interview techniques
- psychological testing.
Adoptive and Foster Parent Screening is based on case histories, research data, and interpretive analysis. The book is written in an accessible style free of technical language, thus making it appropriate for college-level students and professionals who don't have time to sift through empirical data to obtain accessible information that they can adapt to their profession.
Table of Contents
Part 1: In Theory: Adoptive and Foster Parent Screening 1. In the Beginning . . . (A History) 2. Who Are Screeners and What Do They Do? 3. Adoption Agencies: Private vs. Public 4. Identifying Adoption Issues 5. Understanding the Foster Parent Syndrome 6. Screening Single and Gay Applicants 7. Screening Child Predators 8. What You Need to Know About Infants 9. What You Need to Know About Older Children Part 2: In Practice: Adoptive and Foster Parent Screening 10. Home Study Interview Techniques 11. First Interview with Adoptive Applicants 12. First Interview with Foster Parent Applicants 13. Follow-up Interviews with Foster and Adoptive Applicants 14. Health and Background Interviews 15. Marital and Relationship Interviews 16. Exploring Parenting Issues 17. Screener Recommendations for Adoptive and Foster Parents 18. Finalizing the Adoption Part 3: Psychological Assessment: A Means to Resolve Complicated Evaluation Issues 19. The Referral Question: An Overview of Testing Possibilities 20. Evaluating Mood and Anxiety Problems 21. Ruling Out Major Pathology 22. Measuring Levels of Cognitive Function 23. Identifying Personal and Family Conflicts 24. Assessing Parenting Skills
Mardi Allen, Ph.D. was the 2002-2003 president of the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB). She earned her doctorate in psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi with an emphasis in Child, Developmental and School Psychology. She is a book reviewer for Contemporary Psychology, a journal published by the American Psychological Association, and she has been published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology.
James L. Dickerson, a former public agency social worker, worked to place hundreds of children in foster and adoptive homes over a seven-year period. He later worked in a private agency focusing on international adoptions. He has written about foster and adoptive parenting for professional journals such as the Ontario Journal of Children's Aid Societies. He is also the author of numerous non-fiction books and over 2,000 magazine and newspaper articles.
"I heartily recommend Adoptive and Foster Parent Screening to all child placement professionals as an essential part of their training and professional development. Thorough and well researched, it is one of those rare books that is easy for the inexperienced professional to digest, yet at the same time it offers seasoned veterans a deeper understanding of the role they play and the techniques that improve their effectiveness in placing children and working with prospective foster and adoptive parents. Allen and Dickerson approach difficult and controversial topics in the fields of foster care and adoption without flinching, offering balanced explanations and techniques for the 'best professional practice' possible today...I wish it had been available when I began my practice thirty years ago!"
-- Sharon D. Gary, M.S., Founding Member of ATTACh (Association fot the Training and Treatment of Attachment Disorders in Children)
"Adoptive and Foster Parent Screening should be required reading for every foster care and adoptive worker as well as mental health professionals working in the adoption field. This wise and reasoned volume offers a step-by-step guide to ensure that the best matches are made between children and caregivers. It is a work that has been much needed in the field and sets the standard for volumes to follow."
-- Sam Goldstein, Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry, University of Utah School of Medicine, and in private practice at the Neurology, Learning and Behavior Center (N.L.B.C.) in Salt Lake City, Utah