Grant M & Thomas C (2013) Adoption Of Disabled Children. Department for Education, UK Government. BAAF Briefing. https://www.celcis.org/knowledge-bank/search-bank/adoption-disabled-children-review-research/
This Briefing Paper summarises what is known (and not known) from recent key research about the adoption of disabled children. We know from the Adoption Research Initiative (ARi) and a number of other sources that disabled children are regarded as “hard to place” for adoption. We know that there are issues that are particularly pertinent for disabled children for whom adoption is the plan, including the influence of local practice culture on decision-making; the need for clarity and flexibility in assessing disabled children and prospective families; delays at different stages of finding families for disabled children; and support to meet individual children’s specific needs within their placements.
The summary aims to stimulate discussion and debate about this group of children and their families (or prospective families) at a particularly important time. The Children and Families Bill 2013, currently before the House of Lords, is taking forward the Government’s plans to reform adoption services (Part 1) and services for children with special educational needs (Part 3), which campaigners have argued should be broadened to include disabled children without special educational needs. The debates linked to this Bill have served to underline the inadequacy of currently available statistics and other data needed to understand more about adoption and disabled children.
Underpinning the paper is the view that:
... all children, including those with impairments, have a right to be seen as unique individuals. They also have a right to a family – and to make that more likely, potential families must be shown through every means possible that each child is more than a label or diagnosis (Cousins, 2009).
While this paper’s focus is on adoption, it is important to note that there are other placement options that enable permanence for disabled children, all of which can deliver good outcomes for individual children when they are appropriately assessed and supported.