Social Workers And Adoption


Sir, - Perhaps Kieran McGrath should have waited a few days before penning his defensive rebuttal of Prof Patricia Casey's critique of adoption procedures. In his haste to deny the existence of a "philosophy of adoption", he has actually revealed an ideology of which he is clearly a fan. It is a world view which is characterised by what I would call "human rights attrition". In this world view the rights of adults are pitted against the rights of children; the rights of women against the rights of men; the rights of born children against the rights of children yet unborn; a perpetual war of rights. Mr McGrath obviously sees himself and his colleagues as beleaguered but shining knights in this ideological warfare. Unfortunately, the legacy of war is always casualties on every side.

If Mr McGrath were less reactionary he might consider that the needs of children seeking care and of couples who are willing to adopt them are not inherently in conflict, yet Mr McGrath seems strangely at home with the language of conflict.

When he goes on to spuriously link Prof Casey's analysis with unspecified moves to "farm out adoption procedures to fee-charging agencies" he does himself no credit. In so doing he conveniently side-steps Prof Casey's actual thesis. There are clearly individuals, high and low, within the adoption assessment structures who are, at best, ambivalent about adoption of any kind. This is not true of all social workers nor is it exclusive to them, but in some quarters a negative "philosophy of adoption" does exist.

On other occasions Kieran McGrath has been quick to call on other groups in Irish society to own up to past failings and to address procedural and ideological deficiencies. Now that the call has been laid at his own door, perhaps he would take his own advice. - Yours, etc., Brendan G. Conroy,

Mulvey Park, Windy Arbour, Dublin 14.