Helping birth families

Services, costs and outcomes

Written by Elsbeth Neil, Jeanette Cossar, Paula Lorgelly and Julie Young
Price: £14.95
Publisher: BAAF
Publication date: 2010
ISBN: 978 1 905664 95 5
Helping Birth Families Front Cover
About the book

The Adoption and Children Act 2002 requires that the birth parents of children adopted through the care system are offered support by an independent worker. In response to this, a number of independent support services for birth relatives have been developed. This study, part of the Adoption Research Initiative, explores and evaluates this growing area of adoption support work.

Helping Birth Families allows the voice of birth relatives in compulsory adoption proceedings to be heard. The area of supporting the birth relatives of adopted children is a new area of practice and this research project is the first one to systematically explore this area.

The findings of this innovative study are drawn from data collected from eight agencies providing independent support services to birth relatives, as well as from interviews with 73 birth relatives with recent experience of losing a child to adoption. Referral and take-up rates of birth relative support services are described, as are birth relatives’ views on the adoption process, independent support services and the factors associated with satisfaction with these services.

Helping Birth Families also outlines the costs of providing support services, and the impact of such services on birth relatives’ psychological wellbeing and their ability to cope with the adoption, and accept and support the child’s placement in the adoptive family. Implications for practice are offered.

It will be of particular interest to childcare and family practitioners, adoption social workers, managers and students, CAFCASS workers, lawyers and children’s guardians.

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