Scots worry over post-order contact

Scotland’s two largest councils say plans to strengthen contact arrangements for birth families of looked-after children could undermine prospective adoptions.

Glasgow Council told the Scottish parliament’s education committee last week that children and placements could be harmed by a proposal in the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Bill to allow birth families to continue contact after an adoption order has been made.

A statement from the council said this would leave the way open for “some of the most destructive birth families” to threaten the stability of placements.

Pam Smith, head of service development at Edinburgh Council social work services, warned that permanence orders, which would allow birth parents to apply to share parental responsibilities with local authorities, could deter prospective adopters.

“Reopening cases may act as a disincentive to prospective adopters, as we already have much experience of family pressure to contest applications under the current legislation,” she added.

But Morag Wise QC, vice-chair of the Faculty of Advocates’ child and family law group, told the committee that sharing parental responsibilities could help reduce the high number of contested cases under the current system.


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