Linking and Matching: A Survey of Adoption Agency Practice in England and Wales

Cherilyn Dance, Danielle Ouwejan, Jennifer Beecham, Elaine Farmer (2010)


Placing children, many of whom have complex needs, with an unrelated adoptive family is one of the most important decisions in child care. It is also potentially one of the most difficult. The first part of the adoption puzzle has always been how best to make judgements about which families may be right for which children – making a good match. There has been little research to date on how decisions are made about which family to choose for a child, and whether particular practice approaches reduce delay and have better outcomes. This survey of adoption agencies in England and Wales, part of the Adoption Research Initiative, comprises the first stage of a larger research study, ‘An Investigation of Family Finding and Matching in Adoption’. It captures a snapshot of current linking and matching practice, revealing varying costs and outcomes for children, innovative practice and diametrically opposed views about this subject amongst practitioners. Linking and Matching will be of particular interest to child care and adoption practitioners in both local authority and voluntary adoption agencies, as well as those charged with strategic planning and policy.