Basic Information on Starting an Agency, pg 2

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7. If you are new to the field of adoption, it is essential that you develop comprehensive information about adoption as quickly as possible. Subscriptions to the following publications may be helpful:
* Child Welfare, Child Welfare League of America;
* Social Work, National Association of Social Workers;
* Roundtable, National Resource Center for Special Needs Adoption;
* Children & Youth Services Review, Pergamon Press;
* Adoption Quarterly, Adoption Studies Institute;
* Adoptalk, North American Council on Adoptable Children;
* Adoptive Families; Adoptive Families of America.

8. Any information you can access in professional literature on the following topics would be helpful to you in working with potential adoptive families:
* predictable issues for adopted children and their families at different ages and stages of development;
* cross-cultural issues;
* family dynamics in adoptive families;
* effects of early environmental deprivation;
* genetics issues as they impact adoption;
* health issues for adopted children-- recommended health and developmental screenings for internationally adopted children.

9. Learn about staff training opportunities available locally, regionally and nationally. If the State Department of Social Services offers Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting (MAPP) or similar joint training for adoptive and foster parents, you might check to see if your staff can attend to expand their knowledge of adoption issues.

10. Investigate training opportunities available at adoption conferences.
* North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) puts on the largest adoption training conference in North America every August. Call NACAC to receive the NACAC newsletter and a conference brochure.
* There are several training conferences available for agencies considering open adoption. Check our web site conference calendar at for dates and registration information.
* The Joint Council for International Children's Services (JCICS), a membership organization for agencies working in intercountry adoption, has a conference each April in Washington, D.C.

11. Reader's Guide to Adoption-Related Literature which may help you build an agency library (both for staff and for prospective adoptive families) is available online at Bill Gage's web site at Additionally, Adoptive Families of America, NACAC, and the National Resource Center for Special Needs Adoption all carry books which can be ordered.

12. Contact directors of other local child placement agencies to interview them regarding their views on critical success factors for start-up agencies; the more established agencies may readily share with you what they have already learned. Allowing them to "mentor" you gives them a chance to share their expertise with a colleague. Sometimes the State Licensing Specialist can recommend agencies to contact. In some areas of the country, private agencies meet to discuss topics of mutual interest periodically; this may be another entry point.

Credits: Child Welfare Information Gateway (

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