Community Needs Assessment


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ACO Community Assessment

In 2021 the ACO undertook a Community Needs Assessment with assistance from an MSW student at Lakehead University.  The ACO wanted to know from our community’s perspective, what kind of support was needed.  Over 400 individuals were approached by survey and several focus groups were held during June and September 2021.  An important focus of the survey was related to how adoptive parents prepared for their journey.  ACO also talked with adopted people, first/original family members and adoption professionals to understand their needs and perspectives.   

The ACO discovered some interesting trends: 

  • Respondents did not know where to begin to gather information when considering adoption. Respondents experienced navigating the adoption system as confusing, inconsistent and lacking transparency.  
  • Adoptive parents prefer to turn to their extended family support and found that their extended family frequently were unable to support them because extended family members were unfamiliar with therapeutic parenting approaches.   
  • While respondents did report attending a large amount of training related to openness and contact, they would like more practical and “hands-on” training available.  
  • Kin caregivers have a unique experience and face significant barriers when accessing support.