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You may already have a general suspicion that adoption is an emotionally draining, intellectually frustrating, bureaucratic obstacle course. From my own experience, I can say that the process is usually worse than that. Of all the areas where the Left has achieved ascendancy, one of the most disturbing is the way it has politicised the issue of who may or may not adopt children. The once-radical notions put forward on sociology courses at polytechnics in the 1980s might sound dated now, but they are still dominant in the field of social work. These put up so many barriers to ordinary couples adopting that many are turned down, and children are left in a care system that often represents a conveyor belt to failure at school, unemployment and even prison.

I am a local councillor in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham and I sit on my local authority's adoption panel. Every council has an adoption panel. They rubber-stamp (or occasionally refuse to rubber-stamp) recommendations coming from the social workers. Before each fortnightly meeting, a telephone directory-sized report on each adoption case arrives for me to plough through. (Social workers are given endless training but writing with brevity is not one of the topics.)

Each case will have complications although many of the characteristics of the children being placed for adoption are depressingly repetitive. Often my fellow panel members serve on panels in other authorities. One joked of being in danger of becoming a "professional panel member" in the manner of those who keep popping up on Radio Four quiz shows.

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July 17th, 2013
6:07 PM
Absolutely. Finally someone who tells it as it is! We are approved but the prejudicial attitude of social workers is staggering. They do love their power that's for sure. Strange how few of them actually adopt! Maybe they couldn't handle the intrusion into their lives!!

April 20th, 2012
10:04 AM
At last - some one who understands! We've been approved for 4 years (in the system for 7) and are now having our commitment questioned. I am now questioning my sanity for having put up with all the petty, nit picking and condescending attitudes of most of the social workers.

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