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Identity, race, religion and adoption - The public and legal view

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The importance of the cultural identity of a child awaiting adoption, in terms of 'race', religion and ethnic background, is the subject of continuing debate and often controversial and heated discussion. Tina Patel, Catherine Williams and Peter Marsh seek to examine the public and legal perspectives of the debate and in particular the degrees to which the two positions correspond with each other. Over 1,200 questionnaires were used on a stratified sample of members of the general public throughout England and Wales to gather data about public perceptions of adoption. The questionnaires were then analysed to see whether certain characteristics, such as age, gender, religion, ethnic background and family environment, affected public views of the religious and cultural identity of a child in need of adoption. The data gathered from the questionnaires were also examined against the law on adoption, in order to ascertain whether there was any correspondence between the public and the legal views. The authors present the findings from the study, along with a discussion of the relationship between the public perceptions and legal positions on race, religion, identity and adoption.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2004

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