5 Contact for adopted children with their Birth Families

Adoption and Children Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:00 pm on 21 November 2001.

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We welcome the clarity under Clause 25 (1) about provision for contact under the Children Act 1989 ceasing to have effect and the provision to consider contact arrangements before a placement order is made under Clause 26 (4). We have experienced much confusion in the past about the role and purpose of contact under the Children Act 1989 and that of the purpose of contact indirect or direct contributing to the life long needs of the adopted person enabling them to maintain their links with the past or have knowledge of who they are. These sections will provide clarity.

We welcome the positive comments about contact and know from our experience from After Adoption that there is no doubt that the birth family remains important to adopted children and adopted adults. Regular support groups run at After Adoption for all ages of children and it is clear that a great many of these children would wish to be able to have regular news and information of their Birth Family members. This is particularly around Siblings and Birth Mothers. After Adoption is regularly involved in supporting adoptive families reopening a closed adoption in order that their children will be reassured about the health and welfare of their Birth Family.