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Charities raise alarm over Facebook adoption threat

facebook.jpgThere’s been much in the news this week about the threat that online networking poses to adoption after two leading charities warned sites such as Facebook enable abusive parents to contact children after they’ve been adopted.

In some of the worst cases cited, children who have been living with their adopted parents for more than a decade have seen the relationship break down because of sudden, and unexpected, contact from their birth parents.

Speaking to The Times this week, Jonathan Pearce, chief executive of Adoption UK, said unplanned and unsupported contact between adoptive and birth families via social networking sites has had a dramatic effect on adoption.

“This will only increase in the future and will mean a radical rethink of how we arrange and support adoptions from care. First and foremost, we need to be more open and honest with adopted children about the reasons for their adoption and reality of the abuse and neglect they experienced within their birth families,” he said. 

He said being more honest with adopted children would better protect and prepare them for the destabilising effects of unplanned contact, pointing out that this often happens at a key stage in their adolescence. “Similarly, better support, in the form of counselling and therapeutic services, need to be available to adoptive families,” he added.

It’s an interesting issue and one that’s likely to worsen in an ever more connected virtual world. Have you had any experience of this in your work? If so, do get in touch with us or have your say on CareSpace. Click here for a feature about keeping children safe online.

Meanwhile, the first study into the nature and scale of adoption breakdowns has been commissioned by the Department for Education and will be carried out by Bristol University.

Picture credit: benstein

 

Camilla Pemberton, journalist,

About Camilla Pemberton, journalist,

Camilla Pemberton is Community Care's children's editor

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