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Adoption Provides a Stable and Loving Base for Children, but Needs More Support

The Centre for Research on Children and Families has completed and 18 year study which followed up 65 children placed for adoption under the age of 4. This study has found that for the vast majority, adoption has worked well in providing a loving and supportive family base.

However, within this sample of children, the majority of whom were adopted from care and who experienced difficulty in early life, almost half experienced some level of difficulty as they grew up.

Dr Neil of the CRCF said:

"The first important finding from this study is whilst adoption can give children the security and stability that they need, many families will still require ongoing support once the child is adopted; health, education and social care services all have an important role to play"

Furthermore, the study has shown some form of contact with birth parents or other  relatives after adoption, either through letters or meetings, is now common for most adopted children. The study looked at how adopted children, their adoptive parents and birth relatives have experienced the contact over the years and also how the young people themselves felt about it as they grew older into their late teens/early twenties.

The researched showed that the young people involved experienced a range of different contact and different amount of contact throughout the years. The research has also highlighted the challenges and benefits of birth family contact and the factors that need to be in place for contact to assist children.

The findings of the study  can help social workers, adoption and fostering organisations, government policy makers, lawyers and others create more tailored plans for children in care, or who have been adopted which could lead to better outcomes in the long term.

Lead researcher Dr Beth Neil from the Centre for Research on Children and Families said;

"Openness in adoption, in the right circumstances, can have a number of important results for adopted children, especially in terms of the way they understand and construct their own identity."


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