QIC-AG for Adoption and Guardianship Support and Preservation

By Rowena Fong 

Child welfare interventions that target adoptive/guardianship homes on the brink of disruption/ dissolution are often provided too late and therefore do not serve the best interests of children and families. These families need appropriate, culturally responsive supports and services to address the unique behavioral, mental-health, and medical issues that threaten stability and long-term permanence. Families need interventions from pre-permanence through post-permanence to achieve safety, well-being, and lasting permanence……This is the focus of the new grant that Dr. Rowena Fong, Ruby Lee Piester Centennial Professor in Services to Children and Families, at the UT School of Social Work, is working on in conjunction with Spaulding for Children in Michigan, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  The grant creates the National Quality Improvement Center for Adoption and Guardianship Support and Preservation (QIC-AG) whose mission is to 1) increased post-permanency stability; 2) improved behavioral health for children/youth and 3) improved child and family well-being. Six to eight states, including a tribal group, will be selected based on a rigorous, non-biased, multi-step process to address the needs of two target populations: 1) waiting children/youth and 2) children/ youth and their families who have finalized adoption/guardianship. The Center will build evidence for effective models of permanency planning and post-permanency services/support, and disseminate knowledge about effective evidence-supported intervention models to achieve long-term, stable permanence.

The QIC AG will work with states to assure that behavioral/mental-health services for children/youth – both waiting and in finalized adoptive/guardianship homes – are available, accessible, effective, trauma-focused, and culturally responsive. The QIC AG will rely on the leadership team’s expertise; the 27-member Advisory Board, which includes subject matter experts, adult and youth consumers; and consultants to assist sites in refinement, implementation, and evaluation. The QIC AG  will conduct a rigorous, cost-effective evaluation to increase knowledge of effective models of engagement/intervention to address target population needs, and a dynamic evaluation within each site and across sites, covering process, cost, outcome, and dissemination.

Project innovations include the leadership team’s research identifying predictors of post-permanency instability, which can be used by the selected states as an affordable, effective means of identifying at-risk families. The leadership team’s expertise in establishing foster-adopt link files can be used by sites to track long-term outcomes of children in adoptive/guardianship placements. Both processes will remain in place after the grant is finalized, leaving sites with valuable tools for working with families at-risk of post-permanency instability.