What is a “case”? The definition of this term, and its implications for case management, is the subject of April’s Trends article.
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WHO CARES ABOUT ADOPTION DATA? WE DO.
Deborah SmithKnowledge and Information Services Senior AnalystNational center for state courts
Researchers analyzed data from the state courts, state child welfare agencies, state bureaus of vital records, and U.S. Department of State to develop adoption estimates for 2000 to 2009. A recent paper and webinar synthesized the data, explained why the data are needed, and provided recommendations for future research.
There is no single source of data for adoptions. States are mandated to report public-agency adoption data to the Adoption and Foster Care Reporting and Analysis System (AFCARS). The National Center for State Courts’ Court Statistics Project collects data on incoming adoption caseloads from states that are able to report such data. Unfortunately, we have less data today than we did 20 years ago. Public-agency data have improved, but private-agency and individual data have been lost. Because there is no single source for this data and no single agency charged with collecting the data, only estimates are available. Complex public-policy issues relating to adoption need to be based on data. These data are needed to better plan, fund, and understand adoption trends and practices.
While there are no complete data on adoption, estimates can be made based on data from the state courts, state bureaus of vital records, individual state and county court systems, public social-service agencies, AFCARS, and the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs. For the purposes of analyzing and making estimates, adoption data are divided into three types: public adoptions (AFCARS); intercountry adoptions (U.S. Department of State); and other adoptions (all other types). The most recent data available are estimated for selected years between 2000 and 2009. In 2000 there were 139,163 total adoptions, while in 2009 there were 134,106 total adoptions—a 3 percent decrease.