Harold “Hal” Grotevant, The Rudd Family Foundation Chair in Psychology, was quoted recently in the October issue of The New England Psychologist. The article, which examines greater health risks for adopted children, cites Grotevant’s work in the Rudd Adoption Research Program to minimize the impact of transitioning between families for foster children.
According to Grotevant, transitions between families create “a lot of room for developmental insults of various types.”
The Rudd Family Foundation Chair in Psychology is an endowed faculty position within the clinical division of the Department of Psychology. The activities of the Chair include the Rudd Adoption Research Program as well as the Chair’s teaching and research portfolios.
Partial text of the article can be found below:
Adopted children at greater risk for health problems
By Nan Shnitzler
The New England Psychologist. October 2011. Vo. 19, No. 8.
“Citing Federal Statistics, Harold Grotevant, Ph.D., head of the Rudd Adoption Research Program at UMass Amherst, says the average length of stay in foster care is 27 months and the average age of children adopted out is 6.4 years.
“’In the life of a six-year-old, living three years with a birth family being neglected or abused and then three years with a foster family or two, there’s a lot of room for developmental insults of various types. The majority of adopted kids come from that kind of situation.’
“The Rudd program is one of the sponsors of an initiative in western Mass. Called Re-Envisioning Foster Care that helps minimize the impact of transitions on foster children in order to bolster stability.
“’Each time they change families, they encounter different parents, neighborhoods, schools, siblings and friends. Each transition can be disruptive,’ Grotevant says. ‘We’re working with stakeholders on ideas, for example, an educational passport so when kids switch school systems, they have all their records with them so they don’t start from scratch every time.’
“The Rudd program is also working to increase the number of psychologists and social workers with adoption competency via training programs and post-licensure certification.
“’The number of clinicians who understand adoption issues is relatively small,’ Grotevant says. ‘We hear stories of people going to counselors who just didn’t get it.’”