Adoption Enquiry Get Involved

Adoption Enquiry 2017


I had the pleasure of meeting Dr Anna Gupta (seen here in the middle) from the Royal Holloway University of London at the Adoption Symposium at Park Plaza earlier this month.

Helen Costa, Joy Carter, Dr Anna Gupta and Dr John Simmonds

Helen Costa, Joy Carter, Dr Anna Gupta and Dr John

Following a fruitful meeting she shared with me about an important piece of research her team are working on to collect the voices of adopted people to help improve the  knowledge and work of social workers. If you are adopted either internationally or domestically, then please contact Dr Anna for the full questionnaire, or to arrange a telephone interview if you would prefer.

Dr Anna Gupta at:

As an adoptee myself, it is imperative that our experiences both good and bad are collected to help the work of social workers in this challenging and reforming climate. This generation needs adoptees insight and understanding so the past can productively shape the future.


The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) has established a UK-wide enquiry to consider the role of the social worker in adoption with a particular focus on ethics and human rights. The enquiry will consider adoptions that are undertaken for children in care. The focus does not include inter-country or step-parent adoptions.

Why this enquiry?


  • There is a big focus on adoption in children’s policy in England currently. Moreover, across the UK, there is considerable interest in expanding the role of adoption in ensuring permanency and stability for children.
  • Social workers are central to the implementation of adoption policy. They are involved in initiating care proceedings, recommending adoption as a care plan, assessing adopters, matching children and providing post-adoption support.
  • There has been little discussion about the role of the social worker in adoption in relation to ethics and human rights, although, like all areas of social work practice, adoption does highlight such issues.

What do we mean when we use words like ‘ethics’ and ‘human rights’ in this enquiry?


In their broadest sense ethics are concerned with looking at what is the right thing to do and what ought to be done. Ethics help us consider the benefits of actions or decisions for individuals, groups and/or society in general, and they underline the importance of the values and principles behind our decisions. So ethics move us beyond questions such as ‘does this policy work?’ and they make us consider questions such as ‘is this policy right?’


Broadly speaking, we see human rights as emphasising our common humanity and the importance of social, economic, political, and legal rights. So in the context of this enquiry a crucial question is whether all families can use the economic, social, legal and political rights they need to ensure their children’s safety and wellbeing.

About the Enquiry

Please forward this page link to adoptees to help research

Please forward this page link to adoptees to help research

It is being led by a group of researchers who have been contracted by BASW: Professor Brid Featherstone (University of Huddersfield) and Dr. Anna Gupta (Royal Holloway, University of London). Other members of the team include Drs Sasha Williams and Kate Wood from the University of Huddersfield. Sue Mills, University of Leeds, is the research assistant on the project.


Ethical approval has been granted by the University of Huddersfield and this means there are certain very important safeguards in place to protect those who give information to the enquiry.

The Enquiry includes the following elements:

  • A number of one-day seminars will be held across the UK bringing together key stakeholders with experience of adoption itself and/or expertise in working in or researching the area
  • Focus groups and individual interviews will be conducted with social workers, those impacted by adoption and family justice personnel
  • Written submissions are also invited using a questionnaire available at or by contacting
    Email address

An end-of-enquiry report will be published containing a literature review, the evidence considered and the findings of the enquiry.

The inquiry commenced in May 2016 and will last for one year. For further information and to express an interest please contact:

Email address


If you have any questions about this work or anything else, please drop the Adoption Arena team an email: and thank you so much for reading

Please forward this page link to adoptees to help research

Please forward this page link to adoptees to help research




Author: Features Editor

Share This Post On

Follow this blog

Get a weekly email of all new posts.

Email address