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Beyond the adoption order


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For a minority of families, the adoption journey can be fraught with difficulty and, in some cases, results in the child moving out of their adoptive home prematurely. For many years, the rate of adoption disruption has been subject to significant speculation. Finally, this ground-breaking research provides authoritative information on how many adoptions disrupt, and why.

Beyond the Adoption Order provides detailed estimates of the number of adoptions that disrupt post order, explores the factors that influence disruption and compares the stability of adoption orders with special guardianship and residence orders.

With detailed recommendations for further research and the changes that could be made to policy and practice to reduce the threat of disruption and its consequences, this study – the first carried out nationally on adoption disruptions – makes for essential reading.

Who is this book for?

All those involved in preparing, placing and supporting adopted children and in helping them and their families to thrive.

What you will find in this book

The book focuses on adoptive families’ struggles to understand their child’s behaviour and access the right kinds of support, as well as the response of agencies to their plight.

Adopters and young people provide graphic accounts of what happens in adoptive families when “challenging” behaviour becomes unmanageable, clearly identifying the severe consequences of breakdown for all concerned. They set out how better quality support could make a difference and detail the kinds of services they would like to see developed.

Adoption managers also give their views on the support that should be offered.


Julie Selwyn, Sarah Meakings and Dinitha Wijedasa are based at the Hadley Centre for Adoption and Foster Care Studies in the School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol.