A conceptual model of psychosocial adjustment of foster care adoptees based on a scoping review of contributing factors

Andrea del Pozo de Bolger, Debra Dunstan and Melissa Kaltner - Clinical Psychologist


Amendments to the child protection legislation in New South Wales (NSW), Australia enacted in October 2014, prioritise adoption over foster care for children who cannot live safely with their families. Therefore, psychologists could have an increasing role in conducting assessments and interventions in this field. The purpose of this article is to provide psychologists and adoption researchers with a conceptual model for the psychosocial adjustment of foster care adoptees with a background of maltreatment. A scoping review of the literature on contributors to outcomes for children adopted from care was conducted. A model of adjustment was proposed in which the relationship between risk factorsand adjustment is moderated by both adoptive family factors and relationship factors, and indirectly impacted by system supports. Finally, we name some of the psychological assessments and interventions that may have a key role in enhancing the adoptive family resources and parent–child relationships as moderators of outcomes.