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Question for Department for Education

UIN 208527, tabled on 8 September 2014

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department has taken to support parents and children who were victims of forced adoptions in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

Answered on

11 September 2014

I have a great deal of sympathy for those parents and children who were affected by pressures, during the post-war years, to give children up for adoption. Since the 1970s there have been major shifts in the way society sees the family, single mothers, and the needs of children and successive governments have done much to collectively resolve the social ills of the past. Society has become less judgemental and it is now, rightly, no longer considered a stigma for an unmarried mother to keep her baby.

The importance of facilitating greater openness in adoption has been recognised for a number of years. Adopted adults have the legal right to see their birth certificate and their adoption file in order to find out about their family history and the circumstances in which they were adopted. Both adopted adults and their birth relatives are able to apply to intermediary agencies for assistance with tracing family members. Intermediary agencies also provide counselling, support, and advice to adopted adults and birth relatives. Further changes through the Children and Families Act 2014 will extend the provision of intermediary agencies to assist a wider category of relatives, including the children and grandchildren of adopted adults, to help trace relatives and find out about their family history.