The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) has issued strong support for today's comments by Baroness Butler-Sloss, Chair of the House of Lords Select Committee on Adoption Legislation, who has taken on board the message from social work that the Government's focus on driving up the number of adoptions should not ignore the need for better post-adoption support, more accurate data on adoption breakdown and the reality that adoption is not suitable for all children.
BASW was responding to today's publication of the Select Committee's second report, Adoption: Post-Legislative Scrutiny. The Committee received written and verbal evidence from BASW, in which the Association's Professional Officer Nushra Mansuri and member Sarah Smith gave detailed testimony about why the Government reform agenda was far too simplistic.
The report highlights BASW's refutation of the notion that social workers are governed by 'a culture of optimism', as ministers have suggested. Instead, most social workers are very clear about their statutory obligation under the Children Act 1989 to promote the upbringing of children within their birth families – “we have a duty as social workers to ensure that we give families the best chance”, the BASW contributors told the peers.
Commenting on the report's publication, Ms Mansuri said: “It is good that there is a growing and strong consensus of concern about the Government’s current adoption policy.
“It is clear from this report today that many organisations from a number of disciplines, including social work, do not support the proposed reforms given that they are ill thought out, lack an evidence base and are likely to skew good practice and so won’t produce the best outcomes for children.
“It is vital that the Government listens to Baroness Butler-Sloss when she relays the critical voices of numerous experts who gave evidence to the Committee and develops a sound and balanced policy that will take us forward not back. This legislation is vitally important to the lives of vulnerable children, and must be properly scrutinised to stand the test of time.”
View the testimony given by Nushra Mansuri and Sarah Smith to the House of Lords Select Committee on Adoption Legislation here