Research Abstracts: Approaches to adoption

Author: Wallis, Lorraine
Title: Counting the losses: people who do not pursue their adoption enquiry
Reference: Adoption and Fostering, 30(1), Spring 2006, pp.48-57

Abstract: It has been estimated that only one in ten people making an adoption enquiry go on to adopt. This article presents the results of a survey completed by 245 people who had made an enquiry with one of the 17 adoption agencies in England. The random sample was designed to explore the links between the characteristics of enquirers, their decision-making about adoption and their experience of making an enquiry. The findings indicate a pessimistic view of the outcome of people’s adoption enquiries, with 46 per cent beginning the adoption process. However, it indicates the difficulties enquirers have in asking questions and finding answers to concerns about their eligibility. It shows the links between enquirers’ social and economic background and the decision-making process they undertake. The study highlights the vulnerability of some enquirers’ support networks.

Author: Matthews, John D; Cramer, Elizabeth P
Title: Envisaging the adoption process to strengthen gay- and lesbian-headed families: recommendations for adoption professionals
Reference: Child Welfare, 85(2), March/April 2006, pp.317-340

Abstract: This article explores the unique characteristics and strengths of prospective gay and lesbian adoptive parents throughout each of the three phases of the adoption process – pre-placement, placement, and post-placement – as well as providing suggestions for adoption professionals working with gays and lesbians. Data from a recent qualitative study of single, gay adoptive fathers are used to illustrate examples and expose areas of potential strengths of adoptive parents not generally explored in the pre-placement or preparatory stage. Special attention also is given to the continuing needs of adoptive families headed by gays and lesbians after adoptive placement.

Author: Selwyn, Julie
Title: Understanding pathways to permanence: adoption and minority ethnic children
Reference Childright, No.223, February 2006, pp.14-17

Abstract: Looks at adoption pathways for black and minority ethnic (BME) children. Discusses the over-representation of BME children in the care system, and BME children “in need” generally. Outlines recent research on the permanent placement of BME children, looking at the number of children adopted from care, and the number of children waiting for new adoptive families. Discusses some of the reasons for delays in placement of BME children with adoptive families, the problems of finding and recruiting adoptive parents for BME children, differential social work activity, and matching ethnicity and cultural identity in adoptive placements.

Author: Frazer, Lesley; Selwyn, Julie
Title: Why are we waiting? The demography of adoption for children of black, Asian and black mixed parentage in England
Reference: Child and Family Social Work, 10(2), May 2005, pp.135-147

Abstract: The known shortage of adopters for children of black, Asian and black mixed parentage poses many dilemmas for practitioners, not least because of the potentially damaging consequences of delay while placements are sought. Drawing on a study of agency policy and practice in the recruitment of a larger, more diverse pool of adopters, this paper explores the demography of adoption for children of black, Asian and black mixed parentage. The paper suggests that the adoption prospects of children of some ethnic and religious groups may be affected by the young age structures of their populations. The age profiles and presenting needs of looked after children also vary between ethnic groups, putting some groups at a relatively greater disadvantage in terms of their adoption chances. At the same time, the paper considers the environmental and family factors that may affect the recruitment of a more diverse pool of adopters, and highlights the difficulties of achieving a balance between adopters’ expectations and the needs of waiting children.

Author: Cousins, Jennifer
Title: Disabled children who need permanence: barriers to placement
Reference: Adoption and Fostering, 29(3), Autumn 2005, pp.6-20

Abstract: Disabled children wait longer than other children for permanent new families and some never achieve a family for life. In analysis, the author explores the barriers that make disabled children’s pathway to a family so problematic. It is argued that only with this knowledge can the necessary changes be made on behalf of this vulnerable group of young people. This paper includes ideas that emanated from BAAF’s Opening Doors Disability Project workshops with practitioners and carers, which ran during 2003 and 2004, plus research material and the author’s own views. Problems and barriers emerged in the recruitment, assessment and support of families and in the profiling and placing of children. All pervasive is the negativity and discrimination which affects people with impairments. It is argued that everyone engaged in children’s services and family placement has a responsibility to promote the interests of disabled children by tackling the barriers identified here.


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