'It's dangerous to ignore ethnicity in adoptions,' says Floella Benjamin


The broadcaster Floella Benjamin has said a child's ethnicity must be considered when matching them to adoptive parents.

The comments came as the government looks to remove the explicit provision in legislation to take into account a child's background when setting up an adoption. Current laws require social workers and adoption agencies to consider a child's ethnic and religious background when placing them with new families to prevent the child suffering an "identity crisis".

But Baroness Benjamin warned it would be "dangerous" to remove the provision altogether. The Liberal Democrat peer, who was born in Trinidad, said Barnardo's and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children did not support the Government's plans, which are contained in the Children and Families Bill. "Being visibly different to family members may also result in a sense of not belonging or not feeling able to identify with their family," she said during a second reading of the Bill at the House of Lords. "Parents need to be able to understand the identity of the child they are adopting, so this should be included on the child's welfare checklist along with religion, culture and language."

The Education Secretary Michael Gove, who was himself adopted, claimed in December that social workers are allowing a fixation with finding the "perfect match" to stand in the way of identifying stable homes with minimum delay.