Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Social Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Changes and Continuities in Adoption Social Work: Adoption in Scotland Since the 1968 Act
Author(s): Critchley, Ariane
Cowan, Polly
Grant, Maggie
Hardy, Mark
Contact Email:
Keywords: Adoption
historical perspective
social work records
Issue Date: 2-Sep-2020
Citation: Critchley A, Cowan P, Grant M & Hardy M (2020) Changes and Continuities in Adoption Social Work: Adoption in Scotland Since the 1968 Act. British Journal of Social Work.
Abstract: This article charts changes and continuities in the social work role in adoption since 1968. The Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 established the Children’s Hearing System, Scotland’s unique approach to child welfare in which lay volunteers make decisions on compulsory intervention relating to children. Although the Act was not intended to reform adoption practice, it has had two major impacts. First, as adoption moved from ‘relinquishment’ to more complex and contested legal routes, the Children’s Hearing came to occupy an integral role in decision-making for children in need of care and protection. Secondly, since 1968, adoption has become understood as a resource for children who are unable to remain within their birth family or kinship networks. Using documentary analysis of adoption files and interviews with key informants, the research focused on three key periods: 1968, 1988 and 2014. The study found that fragmentation of the social work role has decreased the potential of adoption records to be a resource for adopted individuals curious about their origins and story. Paradoxically, over this period, there has been growing understanding of the identity needs of adopted people. Such unintended consequences suggest the need for more a thoughtful approach to adoption record keeping.
DOI Link: 10.1093/bjsw/bcaa114
Rights: This item has been embargoed for a period. During the embargo please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study. This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in British Journal of Social Work following peer review. The version of record Critchley, A., Cowan, P., Grant, M., & Hardy, M. (in press). Changes and Continuities in Adoption Social Work: Adoption in Scotland Since the 1968 Act. British Journal of Social Work is available online at:
Notes: Output Status: Forthcoming/Available Online
Licence URL(s):

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Pre-proof_Adoption over 50 years_BJSW.pdfFulltext - Accepted Version330.81 kBAdobe PDFUnder Embargo until 2022-09-03    Request a copy

Note: If any of the files in this item are currently embargoed, you can request a copy directly from the author by clicking the padlock icon above. However, this facility is dependent on the depositor still being contactable at their original email address.

This item is protected by original copyright

Items in the Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

If you believe that any material held in STORRE infringes copyright, please contact providing details and we will remove the Work from public display in STORRE and investigate your claim.