Helping birth parents in adoption. A literature review of birth parent support services, including supporting post adoption contact: An expertise for the German Research Center on Adoption (EFZA)

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


This literature review was commissioned by the German Research Centre on Adoption (EFZA) located at the German Youth Institute in Munich (Germany).
The overall aim was to consider the support needs of birth parents in domestic and intercountry adoptions (excluding stepparent and relative adoptions), and to review the evidence about best practice in supporting birth parents.
The review primarily discusses birth parents (although most research pertains to mothers not fathers) but reference will be made to the needs of other birth family members where evidence is available. The review is aimed particularly at adoption practitioners currently working or planning to work with birth family members.
Key questions addressed in the review are:
- How does the welfare of birth parents relate to the welfare of adopted children?
- What are the experiences of birth parents whose children are adopted?
- What support do birth parents need to cope with adoption related issues and to participate constructively in post-adoption contact with the child?
- What models of practice are there, and what evidence is there about the impact of support services on birth parents?
The review process involved:
- Drawing on the author’s previous literature reviews and own research
- Searching of databases (social care online, Zetoc, Web of Science, and Google scholar) focusing on literature published in English since 2000
- Hand searching from references in publications, and citations to publications
- Checking with experts in the field
Original languageEnglish
PublisherDeutsches Jugendinstitut
Commissioning bodyDeutsches Jurgendinstitut e. V.
Number of pages33
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2017


  • Adoption
  • Birth parents
  • Post-adoption support
  • Contact after adoption

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