Tonight the BBC will air a programme: Adoption breakdown, ‘no support’ for violent children’.
We have recently launched the Beyond Disruption project and are trying to raise awareness of the problems adoptive and special guardianship families are experiencing after a child who is hard to care for has left the family home.
We are pleased that the BBC has drawn attention to an issue of national concern but also feel it is vitally important not to be distracted by the extreme violent behaviour of traumatised children, regardless of whether they are adopted, cared for by wider family, in foster care, children’s homes or living with their birth families. If we look at the behaviour in isolation, or just connect it with early life abuse and neglect, we risk creating narratives of ‘bad parents’ and ‘good parents’ who could not cope with the ‘difficult damaged’ children and were perhaps not sufficiently prepared for what they took on – or supported well enough.
The impact of trauma goes far wider than aggression and violence, and our children and young adults may also shut down completely and withdraw, or they may act out their unspeakable trauma of sexual abuse, or make false allegations – as they are confused when trauma impacts on the brain’s memory centres and they become dissociative as a coping mechanism to very extreme trauma. All these difficulties are incredibly hard for parents/carers, and the professionals who try to support us to deal with.
In order to properly understand ‘Adoption Breakdown’ we believe we must also look at what happens after a child leaves the family home, especially when adoptive parents and children wish to be reunified, but can’t achieve this outcome or even any dialogue about it. We are disappointed that the BBC was not willing to do this. Parents and carers who just wanted help for their children can find the problems they reported attributed to them, and may not even be able to see the child – who can be made to feel they were rejected, when this is the last thing a parent/carer wants.
We contributed to this programme, putting forward a mother for interview, in good faith that this would be a balanced programme
We would like the opportunity to comment on the programme on the BBC after it has been aired and we have had a chance to view it. We invite the BBC to give us this opportunity.