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Study of adoption disruption impact on policy

24 October 2014

The DfE funded study ‘Beyond the Adoption Order: challenges interventions and disruptions' was published by Professor Julie Selwyn, working with Dr Sarah Meakings and Dinithi Wjedesa at the beginning of 2014 and is the first national study of adoption disruption.

The study has had a great impact across England, with Professor Selwyn speaking at ten conferences and giving half day seminars on the findings in 20 local authorities throughout 2014. In addition, she has spoken at four family justice conferences and has been asked to provide training at the judicial college in January.

Adoption disruption occurs when a child under the age of 18 years (adopted from the care system) who is legally adopted leaves the adopted family. The behaviour of the child makes it impossible for the young person to continue living with the family.

Adoptive parents who have experienced adoption disruption and read the report have written:

"We have hugged and cried and hugged reading your report. I cannot tell you how much it means to us to have our lives set out in such a way to influence and help others who may yet face the similar troubles in their adoptive lives."

"In my distraught state after her departure into therapeutic foster care, I was desperate to read about other disruptions - I found the whole sad affair very isolating, and I think I needed to know I was not alone. I found very little to read, but your report was enormously helpful to me - and reassuring."

"I felt I had to make contact after reading your report on adoption disruption ... Everything you describe in your report mirrors in almost every detail our experience over the last four years… A nightmare situation compounded by blame, lack of understanding [and] little support."

DfE are considering the findings and there are plans to improve the support available to parents who adopt a child from the care system.

Press coverage of the report can be found here:

Further information

For further information, please contact Prof Julie Selwyn

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