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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

04 SEP 2014

Adoption in England: The end of placements dictated by race, culture, religion and language (£)

Adoption in England: The end of placements dictated by race, culture, religion and language (£)
Family Law
JOHN HAYES QC, Zenith Chambers, Leeds

Dr PETER HAYES, Senior Lecturer in Politics, University of Sunderland


The Government has declared same race placement policies in adoption 'not child-centred and unacceptable’ and Parliament has confronted the issue head on. Section 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014 has repealed the 'due consideration' requirement in s 1(5) of the Adoption and Children Act 2002.

The authors explain how s 1(5) has been used to legitimise a race matching ideology held by many social workers and other professionals involved in adoption. This has led to foster carers and prospective adopters being rejected on the grounds of lack of an ethnic match. It has also allowed other ideological viewpoints to take hold in some adoption agencies.

For example, prospective adopters who have expressed a ‘colour blind’ philosophy, namely the belief that one's racial origins do not determine what kind of person you will become, have been criticised, marginalised and rejected. Such an approach to adoption decision-making is unsupported by research evidence and has no place in a system which should impartial, inclusive and tolerant of different beliefs and perspectives. The new law, properly construed and applied, should bring about a fundamental change to decision-making in adoption firmly rooted in securing the welfare of the child.


The full version of this article appears in the September 2014 issue of Family Law.

Online subscribers can access the full article here.
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