Department for Education written question – answered at on 27 March 2024.

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Photo of Darren Jones Darren Jones Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she has made a recent assessment of the potential merits of providing a formal apology to unmarried women and their children who were forcibly separated between 1949 and 1976.

Photo of David Johnston David Johnston The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The government agreed that the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) raised some important issues regarding historical adoption practices. Whilst a formal apology has not been issued, as the government did not actively support these practices, the government has publicly said sorry on behalf of society to all those affected by these practices during this period.

As the government response said at the time, successive governments have made significant changes to adoption legislation and practice to ensure that the practices reported are never repeated.

Furthermore, following the JCHR report, the department has already amended regulations to make it easier for adults to access adoption support. In addition, the department has written to local authorities, encouraging them to retain historical adoption records for 100 years instead of 75, to make access to records easier, and asking them to support access without undue delay to such records.

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