"Children should have two legal parents when
adopted by people in long-term relationships." said the British Agencies for Adoption
and Fostering (BAAF) yesterday in evidence to the select committee on the adoption and
"We believe it is inappropriate to use adoption as a means of
promoting the importance of marriage, if this has the effect of denying children, who are
already disadvantaged, the opportunity of the joint legal and lifetime commitment of two
parents," said BAAF chief executive Felicity Collier.
"It is estimated that 40% of children are born outside of
marriage and that a similar proportion of adults live in committed relationships. If we
restrict joint adoption to married couples, we can only reduce the opportunity for
children to find adoptive parents."
She said that social workers would take into account the stability
and longevity of any relationship when assessing prospective adopters.
Conservative select committee member Caroline Spelman said married
couples were more likely to offer a permanent two-parent home: "The evidence shows
that, if we are worried about permanency, married couples tend to stay together
Labor MP David Hinchcliffe, committee chairman, stated that:
"From a personal point of view, I can see the concern over where you have a child
placed with unmarried foster carers and it may be deemed in their best interests to be
adopted by both." But he added. "I am not advocating lesbian and gay adoption -
nor unmarried adoption, for that matter."
BAAF also called for amendments to introduce a national system of
financial support for adoptive parents and a register of private, informal fostering by
friends and relatives.