Pathways to permanence for black, Asian & mixed ethnicity children

Harris, Perlita; Selwyn, Julie; Quinton, David; Wijedasa, Dinithi; Nawaz, Shameem and Wood, Marsha. 2010. Pathways to permanence for black, Asian & mixed ethnicity children. London: British Association for Adoption & Fostering. ISBN 9781905664870 [Book]

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Abstract or Description

In the UK, social workers are required by law to consider a child’s ethnicity, along with other significant factors, when planning for and placing children in permanent placements. In practice, decisions are often made difficult by the complexity of children’s heritages.

Little research attention has been paid to how social workers understand and respond to ethnic differences, and local authorities have only been required to record the ethnicity of children in their care since 2001. This has revealed that minority ethnic children are less likely to be placed for adoption, and questions have been raised about whether this is because they receive a different social work service to white children, or that the emphasis on “same race” matched placements restricts choice, or that there is a lack of suitable adopters.

This pioneering study explores the care pathways of minority ethnic children in three authorities in England, and considers possible differences in decision making and outcomes for them, in comparison with white children, especially in relation to permanence. It raises key questions about our understanding of ethnicity and culture and how these are reflected in social work practice, especially with regard to making permanent placements for minority ethnic children.

Pathways to permanence for black, Asian and mixed ethnicity children forms part of the Department for Children, Schools and Families’ Adoption Research Initiative which is examining how the Adoption and Children Act 2002 in England and Wales, and various related policy initiatives, are being translated into local policies, procedures and practices. It will be of considerable interest to anyone involved in adoption, from practitioners and managers to policy makers.

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Social, Therapeutic & Community Engagement (STaCS)



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Date Deposited:

03 Nov 2013 12:49

Last Modified:

10 Jul 2017 10:33


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