Standards for private organizations

2020 Edition

Adoption Services (AS) 9: Preparation and Support for Placement

The program provides information, counseling, training, and support to help prepare parties to the adoption for placement.

NA The organization provides home study services only.

NA The organization provides post-placement services only.

2020 Edition

Currently viewing: ADOPTION SERVICES (AS)



Adoption programs establish permanent family relationships for children in need of permanency, and increase the well-being, functioning, and stability of children, birth parents, adoptive families, and adopted individuals.
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
  • Procedures need strengthening; or
  • With few exceptions, procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations and training; or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
  • Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
  • Timeframes are often missed; or
  • Several client records are missing important information; or
  • Client participation is inconsistent. 
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • No written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or 
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing.      
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Procedures for preparing for adoption that address for the provision of information, counseling and support
  • Procedures for maintaining continued contact with relatives and openness in adoption
  • Informational materials provided to clients
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Clients
  • Review case records


AS 9.01

The program provides or arranges for services and supports needed to help prepare birth parents for the child’s placement including: 
  1. planning for the immediate future and referral for needed services;
  2. assistance as needed in planning for details of the child’s birth, placement, and for the adoption process;
  3. counseling and support relating to grief, separation, loss, and the lifelong implications of placing a child for adoption;
  4. discussion of changing roles and relationships in the case of a relative adoption or when the birth parents will have an ongoing relationship or maintain contact with the child or adoptive parents;
  5. support for maintaining relationships with friends and family who can provide support; and
  6. information on post-adoption services and the potential for search and reunion in the future.


It can help birth parents to maintain supportive relationships by providing, with their permission, information, counseling, and/or support to family members or other individuals with whom they have a close relationship especially if those individuals may not be fully supportive of the adoption plan.

In foster care cases where the birth parents’ rights have been involuntarily terminated, it may not be possible or appropriate to provide such services. The program may consult with the public agency or its designee to determine the appropriateness and needs for such services. Documentation of that consultation and implementation of the guidance provided is sufficient evidence of implementation for this standard.


AS 9.02

The program provides or arranges for developmentally-appropriate services needed to help the child prepare for adoption including:
  1. information to help the child understand the meaning, process, and lifelong impact of adoption;
  2. counseling to help the child understand and cope with feelings of fear, separation, and loss;
  3. opportunities to visit prospective adoptive parents and preparation and support for such visits;
  4. discussion of changing roles and relationships in the case of a relative adoption or when the birth parents will have an ongoing relationship or maintain contact with the child;
  5. preparation for moving to a new community or school;
  6. opportunities for peer support;
  7. information on post-placement services; and
  8. assisting the child to be involved in planning for placement.
Examples: A lifebook is something that can be created by older children or for younger children to describe the child’s personal history.


AS 9.03

When the parties to the adoption are considering an open adoption or maintaining connections between the child and the birth parents, relatives, siblings, or others with whom they have a connection, they are offered counseling, assistance, and support to:
  1. develop and agree on plans for the exchange of information or continued contact; and
  2. plan for how to resolve conflicts that might arise in the future. 


Most birth parents making a voluntary plan for adoption have an interest in some level of openness in the adoption. In cases where parental rights are involuntarily terminated, there may be situations where ongoing connection with a sibling, birth parent, relative, or other individuals with a significant connection to the child can be beneficial for the child’s growth, development and stability of the placement. Documentation of the assessment of the appropriateness of openness or maintaining connections in the record will be sufficient evidence of implementation in cases where there are no plans for openness or maintaining connections.
Examples: Counseling can help the parties to consider whether continued contact is in the best interest of the child and others involved in both the immediate and long term future. Planning can include identification of individuals the child might continue to contact, and the type and frequency of contact. The program should explain limitations on confidentiality and enforcement of agreements and document in the case record expressed preferences and concerns.

Examples: The continuum of openness is extensive. Some examples of openness include, but are not limited to:
  1. the birth parent(s)’ provision of identifying information to the prospective adoptive parents about the birth parents at the time of placement;
  2. organization-mediated written communication;
  3. occasional contact with birth parents or other relatives; and/or
  4. frequent in-person contact with birth family members.


AS 9.04

Adoptive parents receive assistance preparing for the child’s safe and healthy transition into the home through services and supports including:
  1. planning for the details of the transition;
  2. information on the types of behaviors and emotions children typically experience during the transition and typical length of time for the transition period;
  3. counseling on how to ease the transition given the information known about the child;
  4. assistance with preparation of other children or individuals living or frequently in the home;
  5. obtaining resources for the child’s special needs; and
  6. assistance in obtaining insurance or other benefits.
Examples: Information can be provided through reading materials, contact information for service providers, group or individual counseling and training sessions, and online resources. 


AS 9.05

The program promptly provides prospective adoptive parents with updated information about the child if and when such information becomes available.