It takes a village...
...to raise a child
Research has shown that adoption offers a child far more stability than other forms of care and better outcomes, across a range of measures. However, for adoptions to be successful, it is important the placements be supported by high quality and timely therapeutic support.
We undertook an online survey to find out more about adopters' understanding of and need for adoption support services and to gain a better picture of the actual provision of adoption support services across the UK. The survey ran from October 2011 to January 2012. We received 455 responses, representing more than 700 children.
As an adopter-led charity, we're also acutely aware of the importance of adoptive families' support networks, whether that is friends and family, including other adoptive families, social workers and adoption agencies, professional therapeutic, health and mental support, teachers and schools, information and advice resources, and so on – all of which have a crucial role in ensuring the success of adoptions.
That is why we called this survey "It takes a village to raise a child", supposedly after an African proverb, although this provenance is disputed. Whatever the source of the phrase, the meaning that it conveys of the wider community's involvement in the upbringing of a child pertains directly to the adoption of children from care.
Of the approximately 3,700 children adopted from the UK care system in the year ending 31 March 2011, Government figures show that more than 70 per cent had been removed from their families due to "abuse or neglect", while the reasons for the placement of many of the other children included "family dysfunction", "family in acute stress" and "absent parenting".
It is easy to see how the early childhood experiences behind these categories or labels will have major long-term consequences for not only the children but also the families who have to parent or care for these children.
Adoptive parents, along with foster carers, special guardians and kinship carers are caring for and parenting some of the most traumatised children placed from the care system. They need all the support they can get.