Adoption: Changing Families, Changing Times

Adoption: Changing Families, Changing Times

Adoption: Changing Families, Changing Times

Adoption: Changing Families, Changing Times

Excerpt

There was a time when adoption rarely commanded the attention of newspapers, the public and politicians. A quarter of a century ago the main item of public interest was whether local authorities and voluntary agencies should take up the American idea of advertising children for adoption. Even among professionals at that time the debate about same-race placements was still to get off the ground. The Conservative Government's White Paper, Adoption - The Future (Department of Health, 1993) did not get very far past publication and initial discussion. Then professional interest in change was unmatched by political will. There are, though, occasional small hills of attention to observe when looking back on this rather flat landscape of public discourse. And why and how the mood has changed so dramatically to make adoption almost a constant subject of media, public and political interest is both part of the discussion in this book and the book's raison d'être.

Hence the need for what we believe is an unusual and even, we would suggest, a unique book about adoption. It is one that strongly features professional and practice concerns but it is also one that places the whole of its subject within the context not only of public policy but also of the political debate that has informed it. But it is also a book which brings together a wide range of interests and voices, offering differing and different perspectives - not only professionals, academics and practitioners but also birth and adoptive parents, and adopted people; those who have been rejected as adopters and those who have had happy, as well as unhappy adoptions. We cannot fully understand adoption - its importance, its professional and public interest - without taking account of and hearing all those who are party to it. To give some shape to the different issues, the varying aspects and the sometimes contrasting viewpoints, we have divided the contributions into sections and have written our own introductions to offer context.

Given the diversity of social work law and practice even in a small country like the UK - the more so with the coming of devolution - it is wise to mention that almost all references in this book are to English legislation and development (which for our purposes is effectively law for England and Wales). Even the legal recognition of adoption took place at different times

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