The Narey Report on Adoption
July 11, 2011
Over the last few days I have read with interest many of the debates and controversies surrounding the ‘The Narey Report: A Blueprint for the Nations Lost Children’ published in The Times on the 5th July 2011.
Given my own experience of growing up in care I have to say I welcome Martin Narey’s passion and enthusiasm for wanting to improve the adoption system and help vulnerable children who are in care or on the edge of care find loving and stable families.
However, I don’t think adoption should be pursued at the expense of kinship care. I say this because many children do well when they are kept within their own families. So, if it takes a little longer to identify family and friends carers to take responsibility for the care and upbringing of a child, or if a kinship care assessment takes a bit longer than one would expect – what does it matter? Surely, if kinship care is considered to be in the best interests of a child, that should be all that counts.
What I found most interesting from reading Martin Narey’s report was the assumption that:-
“other interventions in child care do not have the potential utterly to transform the life chances of a neglected child in a way adoption can and does”.
I grew up in the residential care system and came out of it in one piece. Adoption wasn’t an option for me, and to be honest I’m glad because I wanted and needed to keep in contact with my sister, my mother and other members of my family. Would I have been able to do that had I have been adopted? I don’t think so.
I left care and went into education, achieving my Degree and 3 Master Degrees, securing employment, a home of my own and a family. Would I have achieved more had I have been adopted? I don’t think so.
I recently had the opportunity to receive information from my care records because I was interested to see if all options had been exhausted in terms of keeping me with my family before being taken into care. Had adoption have been the option of first resort when I was a child would I have been able to find some peace of mind knowing everything had been done to keep me with my family? I don’t think so.
By prioritising adoption over family and friends care we risk undermining what children consider most important – their sense of identity and belonging, their connections to siblings and extended family members and their desire to know as they get older that their family was given every opportunity to look after them.