Publication of the week: Dr Sarah Sargent10 November 2015
Sargent, S., “Transracial adoption in England: a critical race and systems theory analysis“, International Journal of Law in Context 11.4 (2015), 412-425. DOI: 10.1017/S1744552315000270.
The legal requirements of transracial adoption of children in England changed in 2014. An amendment to the law removed a requirement that due consideration be given to the “child’s religious persuasion, racial origin and ethnic and linguistic background”. This change was motivated by the belief that to do so would increase the number of transracial adoptions and thus decrease the number of children in care awaiting adoption. The likelihood of this change being successful is examined through a combination of critical race theory and systems theory. The combination of these theories permits an investigation into the communications between the political, legal and child welfare systems. This paper offers an enriched evaluation of the interactions of the child welfare, legal and political systems that should be of use to those who work in those systems, as well as providing a basis for understanding why this legal amendment will not achieve its objectives.
Dr Sarah Sargent is the stream convener (since 2009) for the indigenous and minority rights stream for the annual SLSA conference. Her ongoing research interests focus on issues of culture and cultural heritage, as well as legal theory, in areas of law including transracial adoption and the rights of the child, and the rights of indigenous peoples.