Post-adoption contact and adoptive parents’ receptiveness to direct contact in the four nations of the UK

Christine Jones*, Mandi MacDonald, Rebecca Brooks

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Other contribution

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This briefing paper reports key findings from a recent
study of direct contact between adoptive families and
birth relatives within the four nations of the UK. The
study involved secondary analysis of a data set
generated from the Adoption Barometer1, a largescale
annual survey of adoptive parents conducted by
Adoption UK (n=3,470). The analysis focused on data
relating to actual direct contact between adoptive and
birth families in 2018, and anticipated future direct
contact. The key purpose of this study was to compare
experiences of adoptive families across the four
nations of the United Kingdom: England, Wales,
Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Key findings
• Rates of direct contact between birth
families and adoptive families vary
considerably across the UK from a low of
16% in Wales to high of 54% in Northern
• In addition, there are differences in rates of
direct contact with various categories of
birth relative such as birth parents and birth
• A significant minority of adopters across all
four nations are receptive to considering
additional direct contact with birth relatives
than is currently experienced, particularly,
with birth siblings.
• The variations across nations in rates and
types of contact suggest that decisions
regarding a child’s best interests are open to
considerable interpretation.
• Some opportunities for positive ongoing
contact between adopted children and birth
family members, especially siblings, may be
being missed.
Original languageEnglish
TypeResearch briefing
Media of outputDigital
PublisherUniversity of Strathclyde
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jul 2020

Publication series

PublisherUniversity of Strathclyde


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