UEA academic’s research used to shape new website on contact in adoption

Prof Beth Neil, from UEA. Photo: UEA

Prof Beth Neil, from UEA. Photo: UEA - Credit: UEA

A new website has been launched to support social care professionals working with families involved in adoption, with the help of research undertaken at the University of East Anglia.

UEA's Prof Beth Neil looked at adopted children's contact with birth relatives after adoption and what arrangements are like from the point of view of children, adoptive parents, and birth relatives.

Now the website - Contact After Adoption - is believed to be the first of its kind focusing on contact.

It aims to help practitioners, such as social workers, in making evidence-informed post-adoption contact plans and supporting birth relatives and adopters through contact planning for their child.

Prof Neil, of UEA's Centre for Research on Children and Families, said the type and frequency of contact a child has with their birth family needs careful consideration and planning, and should be determined by the needs and best interests of the child, both in the long and short term.

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She said: 'The government is encouraging adoption as an option for children in care and the law says that social workers need to consider whether there should be contact with birth parents.

'My research says that contact decisions should be made on a case by case basis. This website will support social workers in making that decision and on how to make it work for everybody involved. What is important is that we've had the input of adoption practitioners in developing the materials, so we are not just coming from an academic perspective.'

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