Sunday 30 October 2016

BASW Adoption Enquiry Seminar Day

What an interesting day, not without minor tensions but all things considered there was a great deal of respect and agreement. Participants were drawn from across the adoption landscape, Birth Parents, Solicitors, Adopters, Adoption Social workers, representatives of Foster Carers, Academics and Practitioners. The focus was the role of Social Workers in adoption, specifically how they understand ethical and human right issues and inform their practice. All present came with different experiences and knowledge, but the common denominator was a desire to be honest and consider what happens now and what could be improved.

The discussions ranged from the supporting role of the SW for families and children through the children's journeys into care and onto adoption. The preparation, journey and support of adopters and the post adoption order support of families who have lost children was all discussed from a range of perspectives. There were many interesting points raised and issues that piqued my interest were the feeling that adopters were set in opposition against birth families and vice versa. Broader issues of class and culture, motivations and policy, ethics and values, practice and were all touched on at various points. It was a fascinating discussion with some perspectives and opinions being fiercely defended as well as persuasively communicated. A very strong theme that came from all quarters was the need of openness and honestly for everyone.. 

The agenda was open and it was clear that their was a desire to draw in the views of key players in adoption, both professionals and families alike. A reiteration that there was no presumption of what conclusions were drawn and as the day ended this was reinforced again. 

Over the last few weeks as I've been out and about on my travels I've asked people if they've participated in the British Association of Social Workers' Adoption Enquiry. I've had some interesting responses and conversations. What has struck me is concerns that the outcome and findings are a done deal or that their was an underlying agenda. I didn't see that on the seminar day, the question being asked is in relation to the role of Social Workers not the legitimacy or ethics of adoption itself.

I'd encourage everyone who has a stake in adoption to participate, the focus is to improve,  to develop and to not hold onto what we 'think' is best practice but to question and ask if we can do better by all people impacted by adoption. I've spoken to a few people over the last few months and they questioned if the outcome was a done deal and the enquiry was bias against adoption. That was not my experience, asking difficult questions does not mean you are being difficult. 

I want to know what the key messages and themes are that can inform Social Worker practice are and I want to share my experiences and I felt I was being heard. I'd encourage all who can to participate and the online questionnaire is still available here 
Late submissions will still be accepted and if you don't feel able or can't complete the written format contact them and they'll accept your views in other formats.

It was a good day, a challenging day and I came away with many more questions that have rattled around since. I like questions.


  1. Deadline only extended to the 31 Oct. Missed it. Sorry.

    1. I've been assured that if people submit late then they will be included.