Parliamentary debate on the practice of 'forced adoption' in the UK

Published: Thursday 12th July 2018

Dr Carol Homden, CBE, CEO of Coram comments ahead of today's (12.07) parliamentary debate on the practice of 'forced adoption' which took place in the UK primarily in the 1950s and 60s

"As the charity whose work began as the Foundling Hospital, the first home for children whose mothers were unable to care for them, we have been dealing with the pain of separation and loss for almost 300 years, and understand the importance of working with all those affected by the long-lasting effects of these complex issues.

Over the last fifty years, society’s views about single mothers and illegitimacy have changed significantly, and the circumstances in which children are placed for adoption are now very different.

Since the Adoption Act 1976, a rigorous legal framework has been in place and children’s best interests and welfare are the paramount concern in the independent court decisions made about their future.

We should be aware that drug and alcohol misuse, as well as violence and abuse are still present in families today, and these are the children that adoption agencies exist to serve. There are also many organisations doing important work to support families to overcome those issues in order to continue to care for their children including the Family Drug and Alcohol Court team, hosted on Coram Campus.

We must remember that adoption is for the few, not the many. In the last year, just over 4,300 children were adopted – just 6% of all children in care – and these levels have remained consistent for many years.

Every child deserves the best start in life, and for the vast majority this can be achieved in their birth families. But for vulnerable children who cannot be provided with a safe and stable family life, it is our duty to act, so that they can be provided as early as possible with the love and security they need to thrive.”

Find out more about the debate here.