Education Center for Adoptive Parents Online

Period of Performance: 09/01/2007 - 02/28/2009


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Iris Media, Inc.
Eugene, OR 97401
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Dramatic changes have taken place in adoption practice in the U.S. over the last three decades, leaving adoptive parents with a complex set of issues in raising their children. Researchers consistently find a disproportionate rate of behavior problems and psychological maladjustment among adopted youth, adding to the challenges adoptive parents face. Evidence suggests that parenting competence is a primary mediator in adopted children's adjustment, prompting experts to call for effective and accessible adoptive parenting education. Despite this call, many adoptive parents are uncertain about their ability to parent effectively. Generalized parenting education lacks content that is specific to the needs and interests of adoptive families, and educational resources targeted to adoptive parents are not easily accessible, often containing inaccurate information, and providing little opportunity for the practice and maintenance of skills. There is a compelling need for adoptive parenting education that is accessible, research validated, and that provides adoptive parents with needed knowledge and skills. The central aim of this project is to enhance the competence of adoptive parents, and ultimately advance the long-term healthy adjustment of adopted children, by creating and evaluating a parent- training program uniquely tailored to adoptive parents, The Education Center for Adoptive Parents Online (ECAPO). Grounded in a clear theoretical framework, ECAPO parent training materials will target factors known to mediate the effects of risk on adopted children's outcomes, and will be delivered online using a unique set of skill-building instructional components through an innovative web delivery platform (IRISedOnline). A unique feature of IRISedOnline is that it will enable adoption service providers to incorporate ECAPO into their existing websites to complement and improve their capacity to effectively serve adoptive families. In Phase I, we will develop the first program module: Communication about adoption-related issues in the family, and evaluate the feasibility of this prototype by examining its impact on adoptive parent knowledge, communication, attitudes, behavioral intentions, self-efficacy, and consumer acceptance. Establishing feasibility in Phase I will ensure the successful extension of its instructional and technological approach to the Phase II effort. In Phase II, we will test the efficacy of the entire training resource by conducting a large randomized controlled trial comparing outcomes from the intervention group to a wait-list control.