Adoption Enquiry Results Published

22 January 2018 Written by Family Law Caithness Category: Family Law News

The findings of a UK-wide study into adoption have recently been published by the British Association of Social Workers (BASW). 

“Adoption can be highly successful, providing children with stable, loving homes and adoptive parents with the experience of creating the family they want,” commented BASW CEO Ruth Allen. “Birth families may consent to adoption and recognise the value to their biological child.”

“However, the Enquiry explores the complex realities of adoption for many people, particularly in non-consensual adoption, with mixed outcomes and experiences for all involved which raise questions about what the report calls a dominant ‘happy ever after’ narrative,” she added.

The enquiry produced a number of key findings, including that:

  • austerity was adding to the “considerable adversities” faced by many families in poverty who are seeking to safely care for their children. It was also leading to cutbacks in post-adoption support.
  • social work’s professional ethics were not routinely or transparently used to inform adoption practice and this area needed further exploration.
  • the quality of the relationship between social workers and families was “crucial” to pre-and post-adoption support. However, rising caseloads and cutbacks were limiting the time practitioners had to support families.

The Enquiry also found that the painful, traumatic and long-lasting impacts of losing a child of the family to adoption were repeatedly stressed by birth families. There was a consensus that post adoption support needed improving for everyone, with ethical issues raised in relation to adoptive parents being left caring for traumatised children without adequate help.

BASW highlighted that the Enquiry is a start and not an ending point, and that it will continue to develop its themes and support improvements in practice, policy and professional confidence, particularly in the application of ethical and human rights principles in this vital area of work.

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