Misconceptions about adoption from care
A recent survey has revealed that the public significantly underestimates the primary reasons why adoption is decided on as the best placement option for a child in care and has no idea how many adoptions there are annually.
Neglect and abuse account for 70 per cent of cases where adoption is decided as the best option but of the members of the public surveyed, more than 60 per cent underestimated the significance of these factors. In addition, almost a quarter of those polled thought that 2,500 children were adopted last year, when it was actually more than 5,000.
As a spokesman for the charity CoramBAAF pointed out, 5,330 children were adopted from care in the year to March 2015, which although a relatively small number when compared to the total of 31,100 children who left care, was a profound, life-changing decision for the children and adopters involved.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Adoption UK is critical of the label of ‘forced adoption’ being given to adoption from care. While he admits that more children are adopted against the birth parent’s wishes in the UK than in any other European state, he argues that the adoptions are necessary because of the reasons, as stated above.
As he points out, in every case, social workers will have assessed all realistic options for the child’s future and adoption will have been the last resort. The courts will then have agreed each step of the decision-making process, with rights of appeal along the way.
He argues that this is not forcing adoption but is due process within the law. However, he fears that the ‘forced adoption’ criticism is sticking in some quarters and there are signs it could be changing views on adoption as a route to permanence for the minority of children who come into care.