The Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) contacted Researching Reform about a roundtable it is holding on 27 April for its inquiry into the forced adoption of children of unmarried women between 1949 and 1976.

The communication follows a post we wrote about the event, which the committee saw.

A spokesperson for the committee said:

“Thank you for your interest in the JCHR’s inquiry into the adoption of children of unmarried mothers between 1959-76, and for publicising the roundtable event that the Committee is holding on 27 April 2022 in Westminster on the Researching Reform website.

We welcome expressions of interest to attend that event from anyone involved in the adoption process during those decades, and in particular the birth parents and adopted people.

The scope of the inquiry is, however, limited to the adoption of the children of unmarried mothers during that period, and it is the lived experiences of those touched by those adoptions specifically on which the roundtable will be focusing, rather than more recent adoptions.

Researching Reform wrote back to the committee and invited them to explain why the inquiry had been restricted to women who had experienced forced adoption during that period.

This was the committee’s answer:

“The reason for the timeframe of the current inquiry relates to the regulatory and legislative changes made to adoption practices by two pieces of legislation – the Adoption of Children Act 1949, introduced after World War II and which changed the adoption landscape and the Adoption Act 1976, which introduced much tighter regulation and introduced many of the recommendations that had been made in 1972 by the Houghton Committee on Adoption.

That said, the Committee has tried to be as flexible as possible in accepting written evidence from unmarried women who had babies a little before or after that time, and whose babies were then adopted, the grown children themselves, or anyone else touched by those particular adoption processes.

We did not ask the committee whether they had been flooded with requests to attend the event by families affected by recent forced adoptions, though we are aware that events publicised on the site relating to forced adoption often garner attention.

Researching Reform understands that many families in Britain will be disappointed by this response, but we will be unveiling a project shortly which we hope will help.

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