Mixed ethnicity, identity and adoption: research, policy and practice

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Mixed ethnicity children are over-represented in the care system and constitute a significant group of those seeking adoption placements. Social workers are presented with a specific set of concerns in seeking to find adoption placements for mixed ethnicity children as they come from two or more cultural backgrounds. Practitioners face uncertain principles concerning how to respond to these issues, especially in light of social and political pressures, and within the realm of existing debates around ‘transracial’ adoption. There is a danger that among these uncertainties the individuality of the child will be lost as his or her identity needs become viewed narrowly. Social workers may seek to simplify and classify the identities of mixed ethnicity children in the adoption process through pressures that they feel to find ‘matched’ placements. This paper explores how theories concerning identity can provide some insight into the difficulties practitioners face and may help to inform social work practice in this area.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-439
JournalChild and Family Social Work
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009


  • Adoption, Mixed Ethnicity, Identity


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