Journal Article

Adapting Adoption: A Case of Closet Politics?

Ian Dey

in International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family

Volume 19, issue 3, pages 289-309
Published in print December 2005 | ISSN: 1360-9939
Published online December 2005 | e-ISSN: 1464-3707 | DOI:
Adapting Adoption: A Case of Closet Politics?

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  • Marriage and the Family


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The Adoption and Children Act 2002 addressed problems of delay in the adoption process, particularly with regard to children looked after in the care system. This article reviews the background to the Act and considers critically its emphasis on administrative reform. While the problem of delay was addressed mainly in administrative terms, the issue could not be entirely separated from political debate. In the lead-up to the Act political controversy centred on racial matching; during its passage, it focused on the legalization of same-sex adoption. The Government effectively diffused opposition on both counts through its emphasis on pragmatic reform to promote the welfare of the child. The article characterizes this approach as ‘closet politics’ and suggests that such pragmatism may exact a price in terms of implementation. The failure to address or resolve underlying issues of principle may mean that legislative change has only a limited effect on professional practice and public prejudice.

Journal Article.  9112 words. 

Subjects: Family Law ; Marriage and the Family

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