Parents Find Little Help When Adoptions Break Down

Parents find little help when adoptions break down

child_holding_hand-300x200Adoptions sometimes break down, and when they do parents receive no support from social services and children end up back in unstable emergency care with some even being temporarily housed in police stations, according to a report.

The report, “Beyond the Adoption Order: challenges, interventions and adoption disruption”, which was carried out by the Hadley Centre for Adoption and Foster Care Studies at the University of Bristol focussed upon 20 sets of adoptive parents in Wales who were finding the adoption difficult or whose adoptions had failed completely. In most of the cases the children had been adopted later – at four years old or older – and often after early childhood neglect or trauma.

The children surveyed moved away from their adoptive parents on average at 14 years old. The violence of the child towards its adoptive parents or siblings was the reason 80 per cent of the children moved out.

In many cases the physical presence or psychological influence of birth parents was blamed by the adoptive parents for the break down. Break downs in adoptive relationships were preceded by a deterioration in behaviour at home and at school and often also by truancy.

Adoptive parents often contacted their local Children’s Services department for help as the crisis deepened but most said they received little or no help. Many also found that social services preferred to blame them and conduct investigations into their parenting skills rather than helping the children.

The children who moved out of their adoptive homes did not receive stable accommodation when they went back into care. Typically they had a succession of foster care arrangements which also broke down after a short time. Four of the children surveyed were accommodated in police stations temporarily.

Adoptive parents felt frozen out by social services from the care planning arrangements after children had moved out – even though many still wanted to be involved with their child’s long term future. Parents felt social services were more interested in preparing their children for independent living than focussing on re-integrating them with their adoptive families.

A new adoption bill has been announced in the Queen’s Speech which will enable local authorities to pool their adoption services so that children can find adoptive parents from a wider geographical area. You can find more information about the Education and Adoption Bill here.

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