Social workers ‘at rock bottom’ over issue of race and adoption

Social workers ‘at rock bottom’ over issue of race and adoption

The Guardian

Hugh Muir, Diary Editor

Professional body to tell Lords committee that political stereotyping has hampered efforts to rehome vulnerable children

Morale among social workers has been driven to rock bottom by cuts, targets and ministers making the issue of race and adoption a “political football”, according to the biggest professional association.

A Lords committee will hear claims that politicians fuelled stereotypes for political gain, hampering the efforts of social workers to assist vulnerable children.

Nushra Mansuri, of the British Association of Social Workers, is expected to criticise the education secretary Michael Gove, who accused social workers of condemning black and Asian children to a life in care rather than see them adopted by white couples…

…Baffour, who sits on adoption panels, said trans-racial adoptions are hard to get right. “Race and heritage and culture are important, but ministers seem totally dismissive. A lot of people think the repercussions are going to be very damaging.”…

…Marlene Ellis, a black Londoner raised for 18 years by white foster parents in the home counties, said the complexities should not be underestimated. “It is impossible to come out really clear and comfortable about who you are in a society that still has very clear classifications for race and culture,” she said. “My parents did the best they could do but there are subtle things that happen that erode your confidence. My real memory is loneliness; of not knowing.”But minsters can say, with justification, that some social work professionals and trans-racial adoptees fully back the government’s stance on race and adoption. Jo Bonnett, a black police officer raised in rural Leicestershire and east London by white English adoptive parents, is one of them. “I didn’t find it a negative experience,” she says “I think I was very lucky. I had an older brother who was their birth son; a brilliant childhood and fantastic friends. My challenges came at 17, but when you get to that age, and have been brought up in a loving household, you are strong enough to deal with racism or any issues you might have.”She said the benefits greatly outweigh the drawbacks. “I don’t think race matters in adoption as long as you have loving parents and have all the things a child needs.”

Bonnett, 40, said she and her husband, who is white, tried themselves to adopt a black child. “But we were told the child must be mixed race. Ridiculous!”…

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