Ravinder Barn, Professor of Social Policy, claims that the act of achieving security and permanence for the most disadvantaged children in the public care system is a must and issues of racial and cultural identity are at the core of achieving this.
Speaking ahead of a Tavistock Policy Seminar entitled ‘You Can Only Get it Wrong’ – Adoption and placing children from minority ethnic backgrounds’, Professor Barn argues that ethnicity is, and should always be, a key consideration.
The length of time it takes to rehome some minority ethnic children in care has been criticized, leading to new calls for a rethink on policy, with some suggesting that a child’s religious persuasion, racial origin, and cultural and linguistic background should be set aside in order to place the child with an adoptive family.
In Britain, adoption policy guidance places importance on considering the child’s religious persuasion, racial origin, and cultural and linguistic background. The UK policy is in line with UN Convention on the rights of the child which places important emphasis on identity, ethnicity, religion, and cultural and linguistic background.
Professor Barn said: “To do away with the ‘ethnicity’ principle, would go against our democratic principles of freedom and equality. The act of achieving security and permanence for the most disadvantaged children in our public care system is a must. Issues of racial and cultural identity are at the core of such security and permanence and cannot be relegated to non-significance. Moreover, evidence from the USA questions whether doing away with the ‘ethnicity principle’ will remove delay and lead to higher rates of domestic transracial adoption”.
John Simmonds, Director of Policy, Research and Development at the British Association for Adoption and Fostering, adds: “We must seek to find the best family placement for a child, any child. ‘Race’ and ethnicity are important components in the adoption equation. We would do well to maintain the principles of equality and diversity and focus our efforts in a concerted fashion to act in the best interests of our looked after children in need of security and permanence.”
Professor Barn will be speaking about adoption policy at the Tavistock Policy Seminar “’You can only get it wrong’ – Adoption and placing children from minority ethnic backgrounds” on Thursday 1 December.
Speakers are John Simmonds, Director, BAAF and Professor Ravinder Barn, Royal Holloway, University of London, with Professor Andrew Cooper, Tavistock Centre and University of East London, chairing the event.