Sunday, March 13, 2011

Adoption as a (less) repugnant transaction

You wouldn't think that adoption would sometimes be regarded as a repugnant transaction, i.e. as something that some people didn't want other people to do, but in fact there have in many times and places been laws and customs that prevent certain sorts of people from adopting certain other sorts of people, e.g. inter-racial or inter-ethnic or inter-religious adoptions of various sorts. (And of course there have also been restrictions barring certain kinds of couples, e.g. same sex couples, from any kind of adoption.)

The Telegraph reports that things are changing in England in this regard:

Adoption shake-up: new guidelines will stop 'social-engineering': "New adoption guidelines have been announced by the Government to break down the barriers faced by potential parents and children."

"Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, said some of the limitations put on adopters in the past - based on ethnicity, sexual orientation and faith - was ''social engineering of the worst kind''.
Outlining the adoption guidance being introduced, the minister said: ''At the moment, the system simply doesn't allow many of those people who are desperate to help the chance to give young people and children a loving home.
''It has always been the case unfortunately that far too many children are growing up in circumstances where sadly they won't have the architecture or stability that means they can achieve everything of which they are capable.''
The Government said progress in adoption has stalled in recent years, with the number of children placed for adoption falling by 15 per cent between March 2009 and 2010, and more children waiting longer to be adopted.
Black children took over 50 per cent longer on average to be placed for adoption than children from other ethnic groups, and children over five were four times less likely to be adopted compared to children under five in the last year.

Mr Gove said: ''What I do find difficult to accept is that we've created over time a web of rules that mean that we are not always putting the interests of children first.
''We all know that the length time which children spend in institutional care once they be been taken into care is far too long, when those children could be adopted by loving parents.''
He said the average amount of time children spend in care before being adopted is 21 months.
''One of the reasons that they sound so long is that for far too long, we have made an idea of the perfect the enemy of the good,'' he said.
Speaking about the barriers faced by adopters previously, he said: ''We said that this particular couple can't adopt because, in the past, they might have the wrong sexuality, they might even have the wrong ethnic background.
''It could be that they're too young, it could be that their social background doesn't make for perfect match. That sort of thinking is social engineering of the worst kind.''

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