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Alan Burnell, Registered Manager, comments on the conviction of Matthew Scully-Hicks for the murder of his 18-month old adopted daughter, Elsie

Posted in: News

A more robust multidisciplinary form of psychological profiling is needed for prospective adopters with more post placement support  

It is more than tragic that a child should die when she had been removed to a ‘safe’ place. Normally adoptive parents are a very safe place to be for a young child. As an adoption community we need to look at two aspects of this case in particular: the assessment process and the post placement support to parents.

It is often assumed that infant placements are straightforward and that a traditional adoption assessment is adequate for approving prospective adoptive parents. In our experience however, all adoption placements come with challenges and complexities. As a consequence, we have at Family Futures developed a more robust multidisciplinary form of psychological profiling of prospective parents, and a more intensive parent education and post placement support service.

Sadly research shows that if things are going to go wrong, they often go wrong right from the start. We hope that whatever enquiry takes place into this tragic death, it will come up with some helpful and positive suggestions about how these issues of assessment and post placement support can be improved.

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