Hearing the voices of social workers in past adoption practice with mothers and their babies for adoption: what can we learn?

Gair, Susan (2009) Hearing the voices of social workers in past adoption practice with mothers and their babies for adoption: what can we learn? In: Spark, Ceridwen, and Cuthbert, Denise, (eds.) Other People's Children: adoption in Australia. Australian Scholarly Publishing, Melbourne, VIC, Australia, pp. 73-94.

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Abstract

No field of practice in social work is more before the public, more sensitive or more controversial than adoption. (Reid 1957, p.22)

A groundbreaking Australian inquiry in I998 into past dosed adoption practices acknowledged allegations by birth mothers of improper and coercive practice by some doctors, nurses and social workers (NSW Standing Committee on Social Issues, 1998). In subsequently reviewing the literature, a critical reflection on past adoption practice approaches from a social work perspective was not evident. D'Cruz et al. (2006, p. 5) write mat 'social work should subject its own knowledge claims and practice to analysis' and 'scrutiny'. Similarly, in relation to adoption, McDonald and Marshall (1999, p. 88) argue that 'in a contemporary world unjust practices of the past are increasingly and properly scrutinised'.

The purpose of this study is to provide a space in which the voices of social workers may be heard and placed on the public record of past adoption in Australia, thereby making available a now closed chapter in professional practice that may inform current and future practice in adoption. The primary aim of the study is to document the stories of a group of Queensland social workers involved in past adoption practice. Australia has similar (but not identical) adoption legislation in each stare. This study focuses on Queensland legislation and practices, however it has implications for a much wider audience. The chosen timeframe, 1960-90, encompasses the high point in the practice of closed adoptions in Queensland but excludes the era following the enactment of the Adoption of Children (Qld) Amendments (1990, 1991) allowing some information and contact in adoption.

Item ID: 8175
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
Keywords: social work; adoption
ISBN: 978 1 921509 46 9
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2010 03:37
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1607 Social Work > 160701 Clinical Social Work Practice @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society @ 100%
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