As GOP support cracks, POTUS will likely come to regret this blunder
We should all remember what took place here.
‘………….By Amanda Boorman
Adoptive parent and founder of charity, The Open Nest, Amanda Boorman says too much focus is placed on recruitment, not support of adopters
The general consensus, according to the popular press, is that the current Conservative adoption reforms are well intentioned. Michael Gove and Edward Timpson, with personal experience of adoption and fostering, have been the good guys. With consistent rhetoric of zero tolerance towards child neglect and a healthy Department for Education budget to back it up, the reform messages are ones that place adoption as the golden permanence option for children unable to live with their first families.
Good intentions can however, if not informed of the bigger picture, become just intentions. Intention to put the rights of children first, to provide opportunity, to share the many positives of adoption, to save money, to ultimately provide a win-win situation.
As the reform rolls out I become increasingly uncomfortable about where the good intentions will land those of us living in the world of adoption and those stepping into the journey as recent recruits.
I adopted 16 years ago. My intentions to become a parent by adoption were to make a loving commitment, to help a child waiting for a family. It was a somewhat naive decision to parent a child I didn’t “own” based upon reading of the plight of thousands of children “languishing” in care. I responded to an advert. It nudged me as adverts are intended to do.
Despite being a qualified social worker, I was completely unprepared for what unfolded into my life through adoption. Effected by dismal parenting skills, followed by systemic failure to support her birth family properly, my daughter was firmly rooted in what is now labelled as trauma based behaviour. Without exaggeration we stepped onto a rollercoaster that didn’t stop lurching up and down at high speed for over a decade, culminating in a devastating teenage derailment when my runaway daughter was severely harmed.
Within this process I was not a passive bystander. I fought constantly to gain the right support. I faced blank faces, brick walls, blame, shame and financial difficulty. By the time my daughter was 18, we hated social workers.
As a vulnerable adult my daughter now has good support and is catching up on the development she should have been enabled to achieve as a child. Our joint experience has led to us founding an independent peer support charity, The Open Nest.
Focus on recruitment
We began forming as Martin Narey’s report on adoption was published in The Times newspaper. The same newspaper I had written an article for several years earlier. An article from an adoptive parents perspective, urging Tony Blair to get adoption reform right. To become trauma aware, to train and supervise social workers properly, to fully understand adoptees and to support therapeutic interventions for all involved.
When we saw the recent reform intentions, read professor of social work at the University of Bristol, Julie Selwyn’s research that recorded the struggles adoptees face and heard the talk of support, we felt hopeful that finally there was very real potential for change. Other families would not have to face the intense challenges we had. On closer inspection however, the priority of current reform seems firmly based in recruitment.
Millions has been awarded to local authorities to improve their marketing and promotion of adoption. An increase in the speed and numbers of adoptions taking place is expected in return and a funded framework of centralising services away from local authorities is waiting in the wings for those authorities who fail.
Private and voluntary adoption and support organisations have been grouped together via Department for Education funding and an implied compliance via places on reform boards, to streamline the marketing of adoption as the premium permanence solution, as well as develop adoption support products.
As an outsider it’s tricky to trace the money, but in the language of approximates there has been around £250 million put into reform. Only £19.5 million of this into the adoption support fund, and for one year only.
Lack of support
Regular calls to our charity as well as research within the adoption community, show that all is not well. Social workers and teachers have not been given the advanced training needed to understand the complexities of adoption support, appropriate assessments for complex needs have not improved in many areas, adoptees’ rights to quality life story and family contact management are not promoted, there is no mention of specialist support for transracial adoptees.
The varied voices of adult adoptees seem to have been left out of the reform process altogether. There is no independent adult adoptee on any of the expert boards driving the changes. An opportunity to deliver transformative and long lasting responses to adoption support has potentially been missed by excluding those it affects the most.
I don’t hate social workers anymore. Seeing policy around adoption reform rolled I out feel concerned that they may be scapegoated, again, as the ones that “let the side down”.
Date: June 9, 2015
Source: Autism Speaks
Summary: Researchers found an increased risk of autism in children born to teen mothers and in children whose parents have a large gap between their ages. The analysis, which looked at autism rates among 5.7 million children in five countries, is the largest ever to confirm a higher risk in those born to parents in their 40s and 50s.
The largest-ever multinational study of parental age and autism risk, funded by Autism Speaks, found increased autism rates among the children of teen moms and among children whose parents have relatively large gaps between their ages. The study also confirmed that older parents are at higher risk of having children with autism. The analysis included more than 5.7 million children in five countries.
The study was published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.
“Though we’ve seen research on autism and parental age before, this study is like no other,” says co-author Michael Rosanoff, Autism Speaks’ director of public health research. “By linking national health registries across five countries, we created the world’s largest data set for research into autism’s risk factors. The size allowed us to look at the relationship between parents’ age and autism at a much higher resolution — under a microscope, if you will.”
“Although parental age is a risk factor for autism,” adds co-author Sven Sandin, “it is important to remember that, overall, the majority of children born to older or younger parents will develop normally.” Dr. Sandin, a medical epidemiologist, is affiliated with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in New York, and Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet.
The study builds on the broader research of the International Collaboration for Autism Registry Epidemiology (iCARE). Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, is a major supporter of iCARE, with its goal of better understanding the factors that predispose or protect against autism.
Though previous studies identified a link between advancing parental age and autism risk, many aspects of the association remained unclear. For example, some studies found increased risk with older dads but not moms.
The goal of the new study was to determine whether advancing maternal or paternal ages independently increase autism risk, and to what extent each might do so.
The study looked at autism rates among 5,766,794 children — including more than 30,000 with autism — in Denmark, Israel, Norway, Sweden and Western Australia. The children were born between 1985 and 2004, and the researchers followed up on their development until 2009, checking national health records for autism diagnoses.
Researchers identified and controlled for other age-related influences that might affect autism risk. When separating the influence of mother’s versus father’s age, they also adjusted for the potential influence of the other parent’s age.
“After finding that paternal age, maternal age and parental-age gaps all influence autism risk independently, we calculated which aspect was most important,” Dr. Sandin adds. “It turned out to be parental age, though age gaps also contribute significantly.”
- Autism rates were 66 percent higher among children born to dads over 50 years of age than among those born to dads in their 20s. Autism rates were 28 percent higher when dads were in their 40s versus 20s.
- Autism rates were 15 percent higher in children born to mothers in their 40s, compared to those born to moms in their 20s.
- Autism rates were 18 percent higher among children born to teen moms than among those born to moms in their 20s.
- Autism rates rose still higher when both parents were older, in line with what one would expect if each parent’s age contributed to risk.
- Autism rates also rose with widening gaps between two parents’ ages. These rates were highest when dads were between 35 and 44 and their partners were 10 or more years younger. Conversely, rates were high when moms were in their 30s and their partners were 10 or more years younger.
The higher risk associated with fathers over 50 is consistent with the idea that genetic mutations in sperm increase with a man’s age and that these mutations can contribute to the development of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). By contrast, the risk factors associated with a mother’s age remain unexplained, as do those associated with a wide gap between a mother and father’s age.
“These results suggest that multiple mechanisms are contributing to the association between parental age and ASD risk,” the authors conclude.
“When we first reported that the older age of fathers increases risk for autism, we suggested that mutations might be the cause. Genetic research later showed that this hypothesis was correct,” notes co-author Abraham Reichenberg, a neuropsychologist and epidemiologist with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in New York City. “In this study, we show for the first time that autism risk is associated with disparately aged parents. Future research should look into this to understand the mechanisms.”
- S Sandin, D Schendel, P Magnusson, C Hultman, P Surén, E Susser, T Grønborg, M Gissler, N Gunnes, R Gross, M Henning, M Bresnahan, A Sourander, M Hornig, K Carter, R Francis, E Parner, H Leonard, M Rosanoff, C Stoltenberg, A Reichenberg. Autism risk associated with parental age and with increasing difference in age between the parents. Molecular Psychiatry, 2015; DOI: 10.1038/mp.2015.70
Cite This Page:
Autism Speaks. “Increased risk of autism with teen moms.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 June 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150609065641.htm>. …………..’
A sad loss