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Findings of Adoption Enquiry Published

The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) has recently published the results of a UK-wide enquiry into adoption

Key findings of the Adoption Enquiry include:

It was considered that in recent decades, and particularly in England, policy makers had tended to promote adoption as risk free in a ‘happy ever after’ narrative. The Enquiry heard from a range of respondents across the UK that this is unhelpful as it can lead to the silencing of adopted children and adults who may have to manage contradictory emotions such as grief and loss, joy and happiness.

Austerity was adding to the “considerable adversities” faced by many families in poverty who are seeking to safely care for their children. Welfare and legal aid cuts had reduced the financial resources available to some, while services designed to help more families stay together and prevent children being taken into care had also been stripped back. Cutbacks were also impacting post-adoption support, with provision for both birth families and adoptive families “inadequate”.

The quality of the relationship between social workers and families was “crucial” to pre-and post-adoption support. However, it warned that the pressure of rising caseloads and cuts to services meant many practitioners felt limited in the time and support they could provide, and some families feared their children would end up taken into care if they sought help.

The enquiry’s authors, Professor Featherstone and Professor Gupta, made five recommendations for improvement based on their findings. These have all been accepted by the BASW, which has outlined how they intend to action them.

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