Outcome Studies

Outcome studies are a well-established research genre today, but early in the twentieth century, they were new. How did adopted children and adoptive families turn out five, ten, or twenty years after placement? By finding out what had happened to children and parents later in life, outcome studies offered a way to predict and control future adoptions by studying the results of adoptions arranged in the past.

These studies defined outcomes in many different ways, but all tried to correlate “inputs”—such as child's sex, age at adoption, natal family background, and adopters' characteristics—with measures of child development, parental satisfaction, and success (or failure) later in life. They aimed to reveal which variables, in which combinations, produced which outcomes. Which family-making practices and kinship configurations had good results? Which had bad results? Outcome studies embodied the conviction that systematic research was essential to improving the results of future adoptions for children and families.

The first major outcome study was conducted by Sophie van Senden Theis and the New York State Charities Aid Association. How Foster Children Turn Out, published in 1924, followed up on the cases of 910 children placed between 1898 and 1922.

 

Chronological List of Outcome Studies

1915

Ruth W. Lawton and J. Prentice Murphy, “A Study of Results of a Child-Placing Society” (paper presented at The National Conference of Charities and Correction, 1915), 164-174.

1916

Mary Tinney, “An Interpretation of Three Thousand Placements by the New York Catholic Home Bureau” (paper presented at the Fourth National Conference of Catholic Charities, September 17-20, 1916), 181-198.

1924

Sophie van Senden Theis, How Foster Children Turn Out, Publication No. 165 (New York: New York State Charities Aid Association, 1924).

1934

Lee M. Brooks, “Forty Foster Homes Look at Adoption,” Family 15 (March 1934):13-17

1937

Iris Ruggles Macrae, “An Analysis of Adoption Practices at the New England Home for Little Wanderers” (M.S. thesis, Simmons College, School of Social Work, 1937).

1942

Lucie K. Browning, “A Private Agency Looks at the End Results of Adoptions,” Child Welfare League of America Bulletin 21 (January 1942):3-5.

1950

Georgina D. Hotchkiss, “Adoptive Parents Talk About Their Children: A Follow-Up Study of Twenty-Four Children Adopted Through a Child Placing Agency” (M.S. thesis, Simmons College, 1950).

1950

Hazel S. Morrison, “Research Study in an Adoption Program,” Child Welfare (July 1950):7-9, 12-13.

1951

Ruth F. Brenner, A Follow-Up Study of Adoptive Families (New York: Child Adoption Research Committee, March 1951).

1951

Catherine S. Amatruda and Joseph V. Baldwin, “Current Adoption Practices,” Journal of Pediatrics 38, no. 2 (February 1951):208-212.

1951

Margarete Zur Nieden, “The Influence of Constitution and Environment Upon the Development of Adopted Children,” Journal of Psychology 31 (1951):91-95.

1952

Mary Elizabeth Fairweather, “Early Placement in Adoption,” Child Welfare 31 (March 1952):3-8.

1953

Abraham Joseph Simon, “Social Agency Adoption; A Psycho-Sociological Study in Prediction” (Ph.D. diss., Washington University, St. Louis, 1953).

1954

M.E. Edwards, “Failure and Success in the Adoption of Toddlers,” Case Conference 1, no. 6 (November 1954):3-8.

1955

Ruth Medway Davis and Polly Bouck, “Crucial Importance of Adoption Home Study,” Child Welfare 34, no. 3 (March 1955):20-21.

1956

Helen Fradkin and Dorothy Krugman, “A Program of Adoptive Placement for Infants Under 3 Months,” American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 26, no. 4 (July 1956):577-590.1957

1957

David Fanshel, A Study in Negro Adoption (New York: Child Welfare League of America, 1957).

1957

Margaret A. Valk, “Adjustment of Korean-American Children in Their American Adoptive Homes,” Casework Papers (1957):145-158.

1959

Donald Brieland, An Experimental Study of the Selection of Adoptive Parents at Intake (New York: Child Welfare League of America, May 1959).

1962

Child Welfare League of America, ed., Quantitative Approaches to Parent Selection (New York: Child Welfare League of America, 1962).

1962

Alfred Kadushin, “A Study of Adoptive Parents of Hard-to-Place Children,” Social Casework 43 (May 1962):227-233.

1963

Helen L. Witmer et al, Independent Adoptions: A Follow-Up Study (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1963).

1965

Child Welfare League of America, ed., Perspectives on Adoption Research (New York: Child Welfare League of America, 1965).

1970

Benson Jaffee and David Fanshel, How They Fared in Adoption: A Follow-Up Study (New York: Columbia University Press, 1970).

1972

David Fanshel, Far From the Reservation: The Transracial Adoption of American Indian Children (Metuchen, NJ: The Scarecrow Press, 1972).

1974

Lucille J. Grow and Deborah Shapiro, Black Children—White Parents: A Study of Transracial Adoption (New York: Child Welfare League of America, 1974).

1976

Joan F. Shireman and Penny R. Johnson, “Single Persons as Adoptive Parents,” Social Service Review 50 (March 1976):103-116.

1977

Rita James Simon and Howard Alstein, Transracial Adoption (New York: Wiley, 1977).

1978

William Meezan, Sanford Katz, and Eva Manoff Russo, Adoption Without Agencies: A Study of Independent Adoptions (New York: Child Welfare League of America, 1978).

 

Page Updated: 2-24-2012
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To learn more about The Adoption History Project, please contact Ellen Herman
Department of History, University of Oregon
Eugene, Oregon 97403-1288
(541) 346-3118
E-mail: adoption@uoregon.edu
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