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Home > Arhiva > 2013 > Numar: 2 > The Changing Face of Adoption in England: Opportunities and Dilemmas

 The Changing Face of Adoption in England: Opportunities and Dilemmas

  • Peter Unwin (University of Worcester, Social Work, Institute of Health and Society, Worcester WR2 6AJ, UK, E-mail:
  • Gabriela Mişca (University of Worcester, Institute of Health and Society Worcester WR2 6AJ, UK,, Tel: 01905 542526)

The Coalition Government in England has recently undertaken a radical review of adoption services. Informed by business and managerial principles, the government strategy, ‘An Action Plan for Adoption: Tackling Delay’ (DfE, 2012a), is designed to increase the number of adoptions, widen the pool of adoptive applicants and reduce the costs occurred by keeping children unnecessarily in the looked after system of care. The new strategy has been opposed by many in the social work profession who fear that a speeding up of the adoption process will erode social work values and practice. Previous governments have attempted to bring about radical change in adoption practices across England, but with little success. The paper reviews some of the dilemmas raised by the new adoption proposals, such as the opportunity to bring about success and to change the outcomes for children needing adoption as supported by the body of research into the potential positive effects of adoption on children’s outcome. However the paper is questioning whether managerialist tools such as league tables of local authority performance have any place in child-centred adoption practice.

Keywords: adoption in England; adoption and child development; managerialism, post-adoption support, children who await adoption