Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 285-311

First online:

Interventions for Internationally Adopted Children and Families: A Review of the Literature

  • Janet A. WelshAffiliated withPrevention Research Center for the Promotion of Human Development, The Pennsylvania State University, State College Email author 
  • , Andres G. VianaAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, The Pennsylvania State University
  • , Stephen A. PetrillAffiliated withDepartment of Human Development and Family Science, The Ohio State University
  • , Matthew D. MathiasAffiliated withDuke University Affiliated Physicians, Triangle Family Practice, Duke University

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Internationally adopted (IA) children are at increased risk for health-related, developmental, and behavioral difficulties. This article reviews the literature on various interventions currently used with IA populations; including health-related interventions provided by medical specialists, preparation programs provided by adoption agencies and other social service organizations, treatments for attachment and behavioral disorders, psychoeducational services, programs designed to improve children’s care prior to adoption, and parent-based initiatives. Surprisingly, very little systematic information exists regarding the effectiveness of interventions designed to prevent and remediate these difficulties in IA children. Recommendations for future research activity and for best practice approaches to intervention are discussed.


International adoption Intercountry adoption Adoption medicine Attachment interventions Educational interventions