New Donaldson Report Calls for Adoption Competency Training Among Mental Health Professionals

Several days ago, my colleague Adam Pertman, the Executive Director of the Donaldson Adoption Institute, sent me an advance link to the Institute’s new report, “A Need to Know: Enhancing Adoption Competence among Mental Health Professionals.”

Adam Pertman and the Donaldson Adoption Institute are embarking on an “intensive  sustained effort to distribute the report to as many people as possible.”

”The negative experiences of some adoptive families in seeking help underscore the reality that therapists lacking adoption competence can, at times, do more harm than good," said David Brodzinsky, Ph.D., the Institute's Research & Project Director and author of the report.

The Adoption Institute's recommendations in "A Need to Know" include:

  • Develop certification for adoption clinical competence, so clients know that the professionals with whom they are working have the requisite knowledge, skills and experience to meet their needs.
  • Expand training programs nationwide by replicating already effective models and through more use of technologies such as webinars, " flip teaching" and " massive open online courses."
  • Develop outreach efforts to inform mental health providers about the need for adoption competency, the opportunities for enhancing their knowledge, and the benefits of doing so.
  • Educate insurance providers about the unique nature of adoption issues and advocate for expanded coverage, which would greatly help those who need competent services.
  • Encourage graduate training programs and post-graduate clinical training centers to include more information about adoption and foster care in their curricula, since so little currently exists.

Here is a link to the pdf of the full report.  Please download it, share it, read it and save it.  Those of us who have been touched by adoption know how very much psychologists, social workers, educators and physicians are in need of adoption competency training.

I recommend you consider providing the link to people who are deeply involved in your child’s life, such as:

  • Parents, grandparents, involved family members
  • Therapists and social workers
  • School teachers
  • Treating physicians
  • Coaches, mentors
  • Pastors, Rabbis, religious leaders

For questions about the research, please contact The Donaldson Adoption Institute.

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