Is my position as a social worker compromised if I don’t agree with adoption?

A social worker reflects on their biases around adoption and the need for group decision-making in matters of separating children from families

Photo: Jenny Sturm/Fotolia

by Andrew Matthews

I have worked with families where care proceedings have been initiated through both my training and three-years qualified. I have been responsible for recommending the interim removal of children from their birth families as well as placing children in the care of relatives under the auspices of special guardianship orders (SGOs).

I consider myself to have a sound understanding of care proceedings but one area which leaves me feeling uncomfortable, anxious and unsure of myself as a social worker is adoption.

Adoption in a social work context often occurs without the consent of parents and is often a lengthy, draining approach for all involved; and this does not overshadow the experience of parents who have gone through their children being adopted.

The legal framework around adoption in the UK is interesting, namely around the idea of forced adoption which can be seen as punitive. Recent research from BASW said there was clear evidence that austerity added to the adversities faced by families who seek children to be returned to their care.

Welfare and legal aid cuts had reduced the financial resources available to some and services designed to help more families stay together and prevent children being taken into care had been stripped back.


I am interested in how practitioners navigate adoption when their values shape a professional identity which feels deeply uncomfortable with the state forcibly removing children permanently with closed contact. There are some cases where I believe it is clear the child will be at imminent risk and I agree that action should be taken; I still question the finality of this but again this is a related issue when thinking about contact.

My thinking on this issue has been stimulated by a current family I am working with. The mother has sadly had multiple children removed from her care but is now with a new partner and in terms of presenting risks the parents appear to be doing all they can. I am required to assess the possible risk, which is hard when the child has not yet been born.

I am facing the additional challenge of a risk-averse organisational culture contributing to a narrative that we should discount the parents because of history. The history is deeply concerning and it is recent.

I find my own values leading to anxieties in my practice; I have reflected and realised I do not think history equates to threshold for permanent adoption, which appears to be being advocated by my colleagues and management.


I am not saying I am correct, but the finality of adoption when the stakes are so high is troubling me; both parents have shared they have a willingness to change and learn.

The assessment is based on words and I worry if there is anything they can say to change the predetermined thoughts and wishes of decision makers and the court. If this is predetermined because of a recent history of significant and imminent harm with the mother, am I being dishonest and opaque in my work with the family?

To an extent I feel fraudulent; the parents have a good awareness of the severity of the situation but I can’t help thinking that things have already been decided.

The possible lack of opportunity for the parents to evidence change when thinking about the timescales of the child does not sit well with me. One argument is that pattern and history show that the child will be at risk. But this of course cannot be 100%. The flip side is how can we take a risk with a newborn child when our law enshrines the child be at the forefront of our decision making?

‘I am struggling’

Such conflicts occur day-to-day in practice with families in all matter of contexts such as child in need, child protection and single assessments. Yet in this context, when the decision may be permanent adoption, I am struggling.

Why do I not have the same struggles in the other contexts mentioned? Have I become desensitized, or have I found better strategies for managing those dilemmas? Perhaps the finality of adoption is what was different.

Power permeates the role of the social worker and I attempt to address this in my practice with families. Power in relation to not allowing a child to potentially ever have contact with their birth family is for me something I perhaps cannot agree with. Where does this leave me, how do I reflect on my values but still make recommendations that are best for the child?

How do biases about adoption impact my decision making; is my role as a social worker working in the court arena compromised? I initially had such panics but then thought about what I would do if I were to be advising or supporting a colleague with a similar dilemma. Once I broke it down, I realised like all dilemmas, the decision making and anxieties had to be shared.


Too often social work is focused on the role of practitioners in isolation; not only is safeguarding a multi-agency focus, I have realised that the better social care organisations are the ones with joint working, co working, group supervision and curious practice.

Recommendation and decisions are then made with the input and value of a range of practitioners who bring their own values, beliefs and identities. So, I could talk to a colleague who may be more risk averse and have a different relationship with adoption and one would logically assume there is more balance.

I think the decisions or recommendations social workers must make in sometimes short space of times are scary; this is a more of a worry in the context of increasing care applications and child protection plans.

The 26 weeks makes sense to me, but often complex decisions can be rushed.

Some would disagree with me, like the head of Cafcass, who was recently quoted as suggesting an increase in applications to court is due to the profession improving in identifying abuse and harm.

With the context of austerity, I have been interested in the work of Bywaters et al who have written about ‘social harm’. Are divisions in class, ability and resource being effectively considered? How we see abuse or harm is the point for me; we are quick to act to protect children and adopt where necessary but is this a punishment for those who have suffered and struggled? We say we intervene for the child but is this cruel when considering what families have experienced? Would we see it differently in a family where there was money and opportunity?

It is not to condone abuse or suggest poverty is a cause of abuse; but there is a relationship, there is a correlation which academics are beginning to focus on more.

Is it sustainable and fair to continue to remove children from families who have faced adversity and challenge in nearly every aspect of life, into families of a very different nature and then shut the door on the roots of where they have come from?

Andrew Matthews is a pseudonym. He is a children’s social worker.

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28 Responses to Is my position as a social worker compromised if I don’t agree with adoption?

  1. James De Lange May 16, 2018 at 3:16 pm #

    Social Workers have been making class based decisions since their almoner days so nothing new here.

  2. Sarah May 16, 2018 at 4:31 pm #

    You ask,”Is my position as a social worker compromised if I don’t agree with adoption?”

    You are a good man working in an evil system. Forced adoption is a social evil, not a social good. Forced adoption warps and corrupts all of the good in social services; it is an injustice that is ever present, and it fills the hearts of millions of people with dread. No one would deny how important child protection is. But forced adoption is not child protection: it is a terrible thing that many people struggle to believe is even allowed.

    Does it compromise the safety of children? Almost definitely. People are so terrified of what could happen to a family in the courts that they are often afraid to report their concerns about a child.

    So maybe rather than ask if your position as a social worker is compromised by you not supporting adoption, you should ask whether your ethical framework is being too compromised by working within a system that is tied so intrinsically to something so inhumane.

  3. Nell May 16, 2018 at 6:19 pm #

    I totally empathise. I worried about those children taken from disadvantaged families (most of them) and adopted by affluent parents (many of them). How they processed this as adolescents, already struggling with sense of self.

    One young person said to me ‘If my adopted family saw my birth family on the street they wouldn’t want anything to do with them. They would think they were just another poor family not coping’. She had gathered this from her Life Story book and the stark differences she could observe and imagine. This troubled her for a long while, feeling she was somehow to blame for the loss her parents would feel and their material inability to do very much about it.

    It was a situation that stayed with me all my career and made me far more cautious – and worried about – adoption, than I had been before. At first I thought addressing class along with other areas of diversity was one answer. I didn’t think that way for long. The pressure for adoption grew so much that I no longer believed it was the ‘last resort’ that it should be. That still weighs heavily on me. Its encouraging that there is more debate and exploration of the issues right now.

  4. David Steare May 16, 2018 at 7:23 pm #

    Well stated Andrew. When I was working in child protection from 1987-2001 more often than not I was given the responsibility for deciding about most placements. During that 14 year period I returned more children than I removed but adoption philosophy was still evolving, and of course managerialism and austerity were still in their infancy.

    During one network abuse hearing at the High Court, I took a very independent line and refused to sanction long-term care for the children I was responsible for. I remember being cross-examined extensively by the LA barrister and the senior LA manager in chambers the night before who warned me that I was putting the whole LA case at risk. Needless to say, the Court accepted both my own assessment and that of the LA’s: ‘my’ children returned home and the others went into long-term care.

    In an adoption hearing where I was a so-called ‘hostile witness’ for the LA, I went up against an LA-funded expert witness who has written extensively on child trauma and harm, and I endured half a day being cross-examined by both G-A-L and LA barrister. I argued that the children needed twice yearly contact with mother rather than once a year. I can still remember the ‘daggers look’ from the expert witness once she had given her evidence. According to the judge, he nearly accepted my position but he reluctantly deferred to the adoptive parents who suggested that my proposal might sabotage the placement.

    Taking an independent professional line can cause problems, both minor and major. Feeling empathy and taking compassionate action can take its toll – e.g. I was suspended when I intervened creatively with a self-harming adolescent (but I won the LA disciplinary) and my independence was later punished by the HCPC who struck me off the register for failing to admit that my actions were wrong.

    If anyone is interested, I host two Facebook pages: ‘Compassionate Social Work’ and ‘Social Workers with HCPC proceedings’.

    • Kirst May 19, 2018 at 1:24 pm #

      The thing about the HCPC is that they publish their decisions on the website, so it’s easy to find out why people were actually struck off.

      • EJ May 23, 2018 at 7:59 pm #

        No they largely don’t when it comes to SWs except for the very odd case. Most SWs the details are missing when you go through them.

  5. Karole May 16, 2018 at 7:28 pm #

    I must admit for years I have watched babies and children coming into Care, and have wondered why so few ever return home. Mostly these days these children either go to extended family on SGO’s or are adopted. I agree, adoption is so final and dare I say it…cheap. How many families are assessed with the hoops they must jump through made impossibly high given their histories. Many need to be helped to understand the difference between need and want, it’s not an impossible task just takes a little time. Most can’t identify their own needs, let alone that of their children. That doesn’t make them ‘bad’ but it means we as a society are failing. Many mothers are good mum’s n terms of basic care but pick violent and abusive partners. They are the ones I feel most sorry for, they are victims several times over. It doesn’t mean there isn’t a need for these women to change…there is…but I’ve watched far too many jump through every hoop put in front of them…knowing they will never get their children back because the decision has been made. I don’t know what the answer is but I do not think adoption is it.

  6. ANONYMOUS May 16, 2018 at 8:36 pm #

    It is so refreshing and life-enhancing when social workers share their uncertainties and concerns
    stead of being dogmatic and intolerant about the views of others !

  7. Sarah May 16, 2018 at 9:01 pm #

    Andrew, sadly I think sometimes adoption is the only viable option, once all other options have been carefully considered. However, I do think that the 26 week rule for conclusion of care proceedings is not enough in complex situations – I’m sure you will be aware that the reality of this means 20 weeks for the Local Authority to make their permenance decision, due to other parties responses coming in after. I know in our Local Authority we have a Social Worker trying to evidence why parents should be given the opportunity to care for their 4th child (all previous were removed) however they are arguing against the guardian and it feels a bit hopeless TBH. Yet if the FDAC system were in place here, the parents may have been given more opportunity to evidence their changes. I know nothing is ever straightforward but sometimes systems are too rigid and risk adverse.

    • Lynne Jones May 17, 2018 at 8:28 am #

      A child has a human right to know both it’s parents. To be denied that right affects ones sense of self.

      I never met my birth mother : she was not from a poor family : I was adopted into a family who equally were not poor.

      But that disconnect from my birth mother can never be repaired. And the biological need I felt to reconnect with my birth mother has impacted negatively on my self esteem and on my understanding of who I am and where I belong.

      Added to that was learning that the unbearable weight of keeping my existence a secret from her later children from a successful marriage after I was adopted, affected her relationship with her children.

      Then the weight of that shame and loss caused a 78 year old pensioner to quietly take the opportunity to end her own life by throwing herself in a Canal to drown.

      Indeed my disconnect from self also lead me to strong feelings of hopelessness and a suicide attempt when I was barely an adult

      Consider this : Adoption is a form of Eugenics for want of a better word; in our modern society.

      We are looking down our nose at people’s different lifestyle choices and deciding that children have “more opportunities” to thrive in a more affluent family. We are playing God by envisioning how the future will play out for an adopted child.

      However in doing so we are forgetting the deep emotional bond which may exist between child and mother/birth family had it been allowed to flourish.

  8. Andrea May 17, 2018 at 8:09 am #

    Andrew – the fact that you are asking the questions means that you are doing things right. The systems we work within are not perfect and need to be challenged along with unhelpful organisational cultures. The 26 week PLO is one example of where it is right to challenge the Court for more time if parents are making good progress with change and there is a realistic prospect of reunification.

    The UK is one of few countries that continues to use Adoption and while I always remain cautious when considering it as an option, there remains times when it is the only realistic one. However there is increasing evidence to show the benefits for children, birth and adoptive families of an open arrangement with time spent together in person (Beth Neil et al UAE).

    Children need belonging and a family they can call their own. If they cannot achieve that within their biological family, then perhaps adoption is the answer with a different focus? One which encourages open communication with birth families to support identity and sense of self?

    I agree that poverty and inequality increases the likelihood for a myriad of reasons and the current climate of austerity has only compounded them.

    Keep asking the questions..

  9. Anonymous May 17, 2018 at 9:03 am #

    I work in adoption and it is only when you see the permanent damage that these children have sustained due to pre-birth and early experiences of trauma, neglect and abuse that you can appreciate why we have had to take action in this way. Most adopted children really struggle for the whole of their lives with foetal alcohol spectrum disorders, pre-birth trauma from extremely poor antenatal care and drug and alcohol abuse by the mother. The early experience of domestic violence and of neglectful parenting is lifelong and these children need specialised therapeutic parenting to be able to heal. I would recommend that any social workers who do have worries about why adoption is as it is in the UK to go and work for a while in post adoption support charities, therapy centres or in the post adoption support team in a local authority. Surely as children’s social workers, we have to remember that the children act places the child’s welfare as paramount above anything else. I worked in child protection for 13 years and it was only when I stepped into adoption work that I realised fully how much children suffer from trauma. Neuroscience should be taught in all social work courses these days so that social workers understand the fundamental biological as well as psychological damage that is done. Of course, when there is a good alternative to adoption within the family, that should be taken before adoption, but for some children the only way they will ever heal is with therapeutic parenting via adoption.

    • Jac May 17, 2018 at 10:32 am #

      Anonymous, I think you’ve missed the point.
      Severance from ones natural family, physically, culturally and legally, also causes profound harm. Whilst most social workers can acknowledge the damage early, traumatic life experiences can have on a child, we also must listen carefully to the voices of adoptee’s through forced adoption.
      Severance is not the answer. Permanency may be, but adoption is not the only option for permanence.
      The power imbalances between adopters and vulnerable natural parents creates a system that these kids and their parents can’t rely on to be soundly based, ethical, transparent, and just. It is fraught with unjust decision making that has tipped well in favour of those who have money and resources in our community.

      • Nell May 17, 2018 at 1:57 pm #

        I agree Jac. Lets not forget that, while social workers are NOT financially rewarded for adopting children, there are a number of high profile agencies who make a FORTUNE from offering adoptive families ongoing, highly expensive therapy and will continue to forcefully promote adoption using emotive (and inaccurate) language such as Anonymous has above. Their particular hobby horse right now is neuro-science (and also tosh about sibling relationships). My feeling for some time now is that adoption IS a cash cow for some (not social workers). I have also personally observed a very ‘precious’ approach to adopters which was never afforded to birth parents. Why could this therapy not have been offered to the birth families? Tell you one reason – I have encountered a lot of adoptive families who as articulate and middle class people have had no problem in demanding services – fair enough – but once again, birth families are often not empowered to do this. I speak as a 34 year experienced social worker and former Head of Service for Adoption in 3 Local Authorities. I know of what I speak.

  10. Paul May 17, 2018 at 10:19 am #

    Adoption does not inevitably mean closed contact. As an adopter (and social worker) we encouraged and over time moved to face to face contact with birth father – something that had never happened and would not have happened if our daughter had remained in the care of the local authority.

    • Jac May 17, 2018 at 10:35 am #

      The power belongs to the adoptee. The natural family are then totally dependent on playing the adopters game. If they step out of line, they risk being removed from their child’s life… again! Your UK local authorities are ignorant to the harm created by forced, non-identifying adoption. All the evidence is available to them, but they chose to ignore it.

  11. Joe blogs May 17, 2018 at 7:12 pm #

    Really shows the power a single social worker has with just a couple of years in uni, but the single point of all this is does the family really deserve to lose the children.
    Why can’t the support training be put in place as we did in the 40s 50s 60s70s etc .
    I am a early 60s child and my childhood was amazing I was 1 of 7 we all got into trouble normal stuff.
    Today 2018 kids can not play to dangerous , parents have stopped going to the drs with mental health as the fear of the children being taken, and belive me I have seen this over and over if a child hurts themself parents afraid to take the child to hospital or afraid to send the child to school.
    I know this because my 3 grandchildren where taken because my daughter had high functioning autism and her son was showing signs at aged 2 she tried to seek help early and the older to children aged 2 and 3 were taken and a year later her new born.
    The children are now under therapy the adoption failed because they had memoerys and her son’s behaviour.
    Social workers are taking children needlessly and the child’s well being is wreaked the hope of repairing it has gone.
    What has happened to our society.

  12. sw111 May 18, 2018 at 12:06 am #

    It is sad to see birth family jump the hoops striving to their best ability for rehabilitation but unfortunately in majority of the cases, decision for adoption has already been made and the professionals present evidence that support their plan. Parents, in particular mothers suffering destitution, adverse life experiences and domestic violence are penalised.
    Social workers have to consider all the factors and adoption is really drastic and it has to be taken very seriously. Disconnecting the child from the natural family can have a huge impact on identity, emotional and mental health issues and forced adoption should be avoided.
    If for a child adoption is the only option that will safeguard the child then that need to be put in place. Again, relationship based practice can result in a different outcome for the child that guarantees a more fulfilled experiences for both parent and the child. However such a concept, and model is present more in paper and theories rather than in practice; social care has these days become sanitised where statistics of how many adoptions have been completed and the apparent cost cutting options appear more attractive.
    Adopters have been through rigorous assessment and receive support (financial, therapeutic and practical) to care for the child; it makes you wonder why was the natural parents, vulnerable and marginalised not afforded even half that level of support; the support put in place is geared to highlight the deficits. Sadly, it is the birth parents who are punished for the social malaise.
    Adoption is a key component for social engineering, justified instrument to give child the stability but it is known through the adoption breakdowns, the stability and security from a forever family child is told of is a myth.

  13. Georgina Nunney May 18, 2018 at 3:40 pm #

    Forced adoption is really not a helpful description of the assessment, by a Court, having heard all the evidence, that an Order is in a childs best interests and indeed, it is in the childs interests to dispense with the consent of the parents and make the order anyway.
    It is an exercise in judicial discretion, within a clear statutory framework, not some sort of draconian ” smash and grab” outcome. Remember the plan for adoption has to be agreed by an ADM, independent of the SW team, a careful ‘Re B-S’ exercise has to be undergone, the childs best interests in the making of the CO and PO ( usually together) are represented by a Guardian- really, what other safeguards do we need?

    If as a practising Social Worker, you object to the operation of the law, and all the safeguards it brings, I’d suggest you change the focus of your professional practise.
    Modern permanence planning is about what best meets the needs of a child throughout his or her minority. The issue of significant harm, or likelihood of it, in the care of the parents, must be proved, and the effects of it on the child, now and in the future, should be analysed and identified( the CPR ). Usually, the extended family haven’t been able to support the parents to care well enough for their child, or to prevent the harm, or indeed, cannot offer the child what s/he will need by way of reparative parenting, to recover from a disadvantaged start in life. Often they cannot distance themselves form a parent to put the childs needs first, before their relationship with the adult. Similarly, they may already have the responsibility of caring for the parents older children, and simply cannot accept the further responsibility of younger siblings.
    Its the childs right to have a safe, secure, family life- whether or not its with birth parents. Local Authorities, as Adoption Agencies, have been given the ” gold standard” of being able to provide the child with a safe, matched and secure alternative family, prepared and ready to care . Safe, means free from abuse and neglect, as well as legally secure, which is the mid way point SGOs try to go some way to provide. However we look endlessly for connected persons placements, when we know there currently is a breakdown rate of about 12% in SG placements. ( less than 1% adoption).There is also, often a separation of half siblings ( or even full siblings), an outcome often identified as one of the shortfalls of adoption, as the children are placed around a family and also a growing number of Serious Case Reviews where SG carers have themselves abused, injured or killed their children.
    As separation and distancing from the birth parents is often required of the SG carer, there’s no guarantee family ties will be maintained.
    Modern adopters are made aware of the value of sibling relationships, they are required to promote them where it is safe to do so,( especially where siblings are also adopted and fostered) lifestory work supports the child in their knowledge of their family. Direct contact with grandparents and other family members who support the adoption, is increasingly common, extending sometimes to a birth parent. Letterbox and other indirect contact is absolutely routine, leaving open as it does for later more direct contact, with support. Adoption of younger siblings as babies,into the same family, is also common.
    Adoption is not an abuse, its not draconian, it puts children and their needs first and is a viable and entirely legitimate option for permanence.

    • Sarah May 18, 2018 at 8:24 pm #

      ‘Adoption is not an abuse, its not draconian, it puts children and their needs first and is a viable and entirely legitimate option for permanence.’

      Saying that doesn’t make it true. With all due respect, your comment is the sort of thing that makes honest people tend to avoid some social workers. I know you mean well, but there is not much humility.

      Reading this: “It is an exercise in judicial discretion, within a clear statutory framework, not some sort of draconian ” smash and grab” outcome. Remember the plan for adoption has to be agreed by an ADM, independent of the SW team, a careful ‘Re B-S’ exercise has to be undergone, the childs best interests in the making of the CO and PO ( usually together) are represented by a Guardian- really, what other safeguards do we need?”

      You ask what other safeguards you need? The only thing you think is TOTALLY irrelevant is the parents.You don’t even mention them here. To whom is it not “helpful” to refer to adoption without parental consent as forced adoption? How would you cope if you never saw your child again?

      The only thing missing from your words is heart and soul – which is an important thing to many of us.

      • Penny May 19, 2018 at 6:08 pm #

        Sarah. You appear to prioritise the needs of parents over the child, irrespective of actions that have resulted in them becoming a cause for concern. I have immense empathy for Lynne Jones as her experience and that of her birth mother of adoption is shockingly sad. I do not know Lynne’s age or the decade when she was adopted but what I have gleaned from personal professional experience is that children are not placed for adoption in England these days unless there is overwhelming evidence of neglect and or physical, sexual and emotional abuse, including incest, rape, not to mention the stark statistic that the majority of children placed for adoption have birth mothers who drank during pregnancy. The incidence of FASD is a still largely unrecognised time bomb in our society. I’m alarmed that people insist on claiming that children are placed for adoption in 2018 when it is not a last resort. I wonder how many people commenting here have direct experience of visiting families where adoption is considered or have experience of seeing the appalling lifelong effects of FASD, incest, emotional/physical abuse, neglect etc. This narrative, namely that large numbers of families have fallen foul of over zealous child protection social workers and were it not for these overzealous social workers they would live happily ever after is fairytale. And it’s a pity more of us who know the reality on the ground rather in our cosy legal chambers, offices, lecture halls etc aren’t minded to challenge those who insist on peddling this narrative.

      • NFS May 19, 2018 at 10:09 pm #

        Adoption is an emotive subject and it should be, otherwise complacency may set in. However, as a child myself who was separated from my birth parents, I truly wish adoption had been an option for myself and some of my siblings (we were viewed as too old). Sadly, direct contact was promoted with my birth parents and the emotional damage this caused continued for us all. Yet my brother was adopted by his foster family and when we reunited as young adults, the benefits of him being raised within a secure, loving home were clear to see. Now as 40 somethings, his children have (adoptive) grandparents etc who support and encourage them, alas my children do not as my parents could not sustain positive change.

        Adoption has massive permanent implications but from personal experience I can confidently state that whilst adoption isn’t right for all children, it absolutely can work well too and should be considered if an appropriate long term viable option is not available.

    • EJ May 23, 2018 at 8:09 pm #

      You talk about evidence but there is evidence out there that all too many cases are decided on fabricated claims and opinions of expert witnesses who write what the LA wants. I know someone who lost their child to forced adoption (denied contact also, despite what you say about it being routine and a letterbox option is beyond harmful to the child’s emotional wellbeing – read the other comments within which you will see an adopted person’s perspective), the corruption involved in making a case to take her child staggered me, she was entirely innocent and a good mother. So it’s all very well praising the systems and imagining there are safeguards against misuse, there are not. Corruption applies to some judges, CAFCASS, SWs, lawyers. It’s disgusting and anyone who blindly praises the system needs a wake up call. As for “gold standard” try telling that to the toddler murdered by Scully-Hicks. Blood is thicker than water and there is abuse in foster care and adoptive families.

      When a child is wrongly taken, they are traumatised by those actions. LAs then use that as alleged signs of disorganised attachment due to neglect or abuse.

      • Penny May 25, 2018 at 8:25 pm #

        The Scully Hicks case was a huge wake up call about the need to assess potential adopters with rigour and scrutiny as well as sensitivity to the needs of the child as well as the experience of the applicant(s). But let’s be honest cases like this are incredibly rare and I can only think of one other case in the past 20 years where an adoptive parent has killed their child. However I can pinpoint cases of dozens of birth parents who have killed their children in half that time. And the incidences of special guardians killing family members is also worryingly high since the onus was put on social workers to go to inordinate lengths to find family members to look after birth children even when there were doubts about the motivations of certain individuals for coming fo. The priority must be the safety of the child not the wishes of the parent. Let’s not forget that.

  14. Joy johnson May 23, 2018 at 3:44 am #

    Imagine being a loving mum who tries so hard to be the best mum possible. Then after a risk assessment was completed the father gets to return home. There is plenty of support for the parents apart from no support worker. Then the mother is pregnant again is so happy to be having another baby after 12 years of issues conceiving. Then the mother finds out she has a 3cm mass on her kidney so both the mum and dad are in need of extra support which the social worker gives them. And they manage through hard work step down from child protection to child in need. Then a new social worker comes along and things change she isn’t as supportive as previous social workers. The dad can’t cope at that time with the though of mum having possible cancer. His mum died when he was 11. And he has no support. Son he leaves temporary mum ends it then. Dad meets someone new who is controlling to the point he can barely spend time with his son let alone help mum. Mum gets sicker but still no support and things go from cleaning ok just not done before 10am sicial worker moans mum not doing good enough even though she tries. Social worker says clean at night. Mum is ill and getting worse snowfalls asleep before cleaning can be done. Still no support. Mum has son removed and is hurting and cried. Mum accused of having mental health issues due to lies from her brother. Mum is given as support worker but he accused the mum of being to blame for home conditions slipping then tells mum he dobt have to work with her any more. But he tells the children’s social worker she refused to work with him. End of story own Mum had cancer and lost baby girl to foster aged 6 days. At the end of.the final hearings they went with placement orders. As they said mum let her son have developmental delays due to bad parenting. At the goodbye contact mum is told both her babies have hyper mobility syndrome. That was the real cause of the delays. Mum isnnow hurting so much. Psychological assessment said tye mum needed 1 year of cbt by the time shenwas assessed by the nhs mental health team abd told all her reactions and becoming dependent on her ex was normal when facing cancer. She don’t need cbt. She even asked to be reassed due to the truth of how ill she was. Instead she was accused of fabricating how ill she was. She is missing her babies. And due to misakes made she has been advised to oppose the adoption order as best she can. She always wanted to be a mum. Looked after herself in both pregnancys. Has never drank or took drugs and tried so hard to do her best. Poverty and ill health were the issue not abuse. Even the praise she got for 9 months was ignored over the negitives. I believe more parents need support ans not forced adoption. I am so thankful for the good social workers who support family’s and only removed children on need of a safe home

  15. Sara May 24, 2018 at 11:39 am #

    Oh for the good old days when social workers were involved directly in preventative work and also the job satisfaction this gave you never mind the benefits to families in keeping them together,

    • HelenSparkles May 29, 2018 at 10:54 pm #

      Absolutely, vote for a different government and you might (only might) be able to return to a time when there were any resources.

  16. Chris May 30, 2018 at 12:11 am #

    Adoption and permanence are not the same thing. Many children cannot live with their birth parents as it wouldn’t be safe, but it is the finality of adoption which both scares birth families and, in fact, makes it an almost equally risky option for many chidlren emotionally in the long term.

    Social workers and their managers are not God, they don’t have a crystal ball and a lot can happen during the 18 years a child is growing up. As a social worker of 35 years I have placed many chidlren for adoption and seen many adoption breakdowns, with devastating results, as children reaching their teenage years fail to turn out the way the adoptive parents had hoped. Somehow things stop gelling and the bonds, biological and emotional, suddenly show themselves to be more fragile than appeared when the children were being placed with their matched families following removal from their birth parents.

    If the political will existed, there is no reason why permanence and security could not be secured through robust legal orders until a child’s majority, without the finality and irreversability of adoption, which denies children their birth rights. The birth family is usually in poverty and not in a position to offer the child a great deal, but supposing, in the interim, they won the lottery? The adopted child would be denied an automatic right to that inheritance. Forced adoption by the state cannot be seen as anything other than a form of social engineering promoted as the best way to secure permanence and security throughout a child’s minority. There cannnot be any real reason why the necessary emotional permanence and care could not be secured through robust legal orders with no right of challenge during a child’s minority. Why is it necessary to remove their identity, and erase, in the eyes of the law, their links to their birth family.

    The conclusion has to be that adoption is cheap and is an acknowledgement that permanence could not be secured without a price. Couples wanting to adopt are motivated by their primeval need to found a family and this is played on by the state. My experience has been that, for many families, the happy ending planned in the courtroom does not always come to fruition; ‘blood is thicker than water’ resonates and, even if children do not return to live with their birth family, they almost always want to know where they came from and to be helped to integrate those origins into their identity as they develop. In my experience adoption works against this by denying those children any legal right to that birth family. In the end a Life Story book does not really change how a child comes to view their status within the adoptive/birth structure.

    As an adopted child myself, who experienced a happy childhood and devoted adoptive parents, I still struggle with issues of identity; when contemplating a genogram, for myself; I have no idea where I belong. Sometimes the scars of being adopted will not be known until much later in a child’s life. As a society I would like to see us giving much more serious thought to how we can support children who cannot live with their birth family but who could retain links with them if they were in a secure and supportive home for their childhood. Realistically, I recognise that adoption is, at least partially, an economic device to manage the care of children who would be at risk if left in the care of their birth families and to whom the state has a responsiblity…………