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Adoption twitter open letter

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  • 1. This is an open letter to some of the people whouse Twitter to challenge my views about adoption.Some of those people have written or e mailed meand have received replies (albeit often necessarilybrief replies). Others have preferred to stayanonymous and that’s fine. Some who tweet andblog have been abusive. I don’t much like that but Iunderstand it because I believe it reflects an angerand sometimes a helplessness about theirindividual cases. I would, I am sure, feel the sameway were our positions reversed.I have never denied the reality that sometimeschildren are taken into care unnecessarily. It wouldbe silly to believe otherwise when we have aworkforce which is fallible. But I believe, and all Ihave read and seen supports this, that we have afar greater number of cases where we leavechildren at home when they should be removed.My interest is in children who are neglected (I knowthat children are taken into care for other reasons). Ibelieve that, as a society, we tolerate neglect for toolong. We do not, as many people believe, haverecord numbers of children in care. At the end ofthe eighties the care population was half as bigagain as it is now. And that was at a time whenthere were at least three times as many adoptions.So I believe the case for care, for intervening earlierto stop neglect and then securing a newpermanence for a neglected child is overwhelming
  • 2. and of course I shall continue to argue for that.Incidentally, I do not – as many tweeters suggest -profit in any way from adoptions. And Barnardo’s,which I ran for six years never, in all that time,made any profit or surplus from the very smallnumber of adoptions they dealt with. Nor do I haveany power to intervene in cases. So I cannot, evenif I wished, help to achieve the return of anyone’schild.My role is simply to offer a view to Ministers aboutadoption. That view is based on my experience atBarnardo’s and, since my resignation, many, manydays spent visiting local authorities, voluntaryadoption agencies and speaking to adopters andthe adopted as well as children in care and charitieswhich support families struggling to keep theirchildren. Some people call me the Adoption Czar,evoking an image of a large salary and a retinue ofstaff. Those things, like the Adoption Czar title, areinventions of the press. I have no staff and last yearmy total earnings from the Department forEducation were about £40,000.So what advice can I offer those who feel theirchildren have been wrongly removed? It is this.Fight your case of course. But do not seek to do soby attacking adoption in general. Whatever thecircumstances of your case it is demonstrably truethat thousands and thousands of adoptions aresuccessful. The number which breakdown aremuch lower than is commonly believed (new
  • 3. research from the University of Bristol is likely toconfirm this) and there are thousands of adultadoptees willing to speak positively about theirexperience. I am very close personally to four suchadoptees and have met hundreds of others.Nevertheless, I believe (and say frequently) thatadoption is only appropriate for a small minority ofthe children taken into care in England, largelythose neglected by parents who are unlikely ever tobe able to be successful parents. It is indisputablyright that for those children adoption brings stabilityand compensates for that neglect.So, continue to pursue that which you believe in.But dont undermine the specifics of your argumentby ignoring the reality of neglect and the need for usas a society, when parents cannot be supported tooffer decent homes (often because of drink anddrug addictions) and if good quality kinship carerscannot be found, to find an alternative stabilitythrough adoption.Those who might advise that theway to seek resolution of your own cases is byseeking to undermine adoption are – at best -misguided. Instead, and I offer this advice sincerely,concentrate on demonstrating that the authoritieshave made grave mistakes in your caseKind RegardsMartin Narey

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