Letter: Adoption obstacles
Monday 12 April 1999
Sir: Your article, "Councils named in adoption crisis" listed 10 councils said to be the "worst authorities" in terms of children placed for adoption in 1997. I write as the independent chair of the adoption panel in reputedly the second worst authority, the London Borough of Hackney.
I know that the quoted figure of three adoptions is wholly inaccurate. In fact, Hackney averages about 50 children per year placed in permanent family placements, split almost equally between long-term fostering and adoption.
I am therefore cautious in accepting the figures quoted for the other nine authorities and even more so in believing that the "anti-adoption " culture that you assert is widespread is even existent among social workers. It would be interesting to know something of the research methodology employed by the House of Commons officials, if their work could be dignified by that term.
Panaceas can seem superficially attractive but are in fact fatally flawed responses to complex situations, and adoption is no panacea. Yet for a minority of those children who are unable to live with their birth families it can be a wonderfully positive opportunity to rebuild a young life previously shattered by neglect or abuse.
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