The Channel 4 documentary 15,000 Kids and Counting aired last Thursday night and prompted interesting discussion and debate across all sides.
It showed 3 cases of children being placed for adoption after being removed from their parents from the point of view of the parents, the child and the social workers.
An active Twitter stream highlighted the emotive and controversial nature of care proceedings and the removal of children from their birth families, with both support and heavy criticism of the system.
The case showed the consideration that Social Workers give to their recommendation as to the future arrangements for the child – and in particular whether family rehabilitation or permanent removal is considered to be in the best interests of the child. The documentary did not however show the Court proceedings, or the way in which the Court then considers the recommendation when deciding whether or not to approve a plan which involves adoption.
Many of the comments included concerns that the Family Justice system is too “secret” and a feeling that children can be removed too easily and without giving the parents involved sufficient chance to prove themselves, or to change.
A number of cases considering the approval of adoption plans have recently been considered by the senior Courts, including the Supreme Court, all of which have made it clear that adoption must always be a matter of last resort, and that it is not about placing children with the ‘best’ parents they could have, but rather making sure that parenting is ‘good enough’ to ensure they are not at risk of harm.
Regardless of where people stand on the debate, there is no doubt that the process of adoption can be a stressful, difficult and emotional time for everyone. There are a number of adoption charities throughout the UK, who along with helping with and facilitating adoptions, offer help and support to all those involved with the process. Adoption is of course not always a happy ever after ending, with 1 in 5 adoptions breaking down.
Charities such as After Adoption are creative in looking at schemes which can help families stay together, but often people are unaware of what help is available.
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