Adoption without Consent : A Casestudie

Student thesis: Master programme thesis

  • Helle Charlotte Veistrup
  • Gitte Jonna Thorsen
  • Jens Christian Lund
  • Mette Ploug Nielsen
This dissertation has been written by a team of four postgraduate students concluding the fourth and final semester of a program at the Copenhagen branch of the University of Aalborg leading to a Master’s Degree in Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies. In late January 2016, the dissertation will be defended at a group examination in the presence of an external examiner. The dissertation elaborates the study group’s methodology, choice of theories, analyses, conclusions and perspectives.

The object of the dissertation is to focus on the intentions behind the legal basis for adoption without consent and the use of adoption without consent by government caseworkers. It is the study group’s desire to contribute to and nuance the debate on why adoption without consent is not being used to the extent intended by the political majority. The dissertation intends to figuratively embed the reader with the social workers in the municipalities of Stevns and Lolland. Consequently the content will communicatively focus on the practices and perceptions of the involved social workers allowing them to qualify their deliberations, thus supplanting preconceptions, received knowledge and opinions. The empirical materials are derived from two focus group interviews: one conducted in Stevns Municipality and the other in Lolland Municipality.

This dissertation is based on the premise that a description of real world conditions cannot be entirely objective, and, therefore, the dissertation has a social constructive perspective. On the whole, the analysis has been based on the following theoretical models: Uri Bronfenbrenner’s ecological development model, Michael Lipsky’s “Street-Level Bureaucracy” theory, and Lars Inge Terum’s four forms of bureaucratic interpretation.

The analysis leads to the following results: Social workers do not consider the option of adoption without consent when conducting their practical work, and they generally do not see a need for the legislation on this matter. The social workers all agree that they consider the laws on adoption without consent to be solely relevant in relation to non-familial adoptions in the case of newborn children without siblings whose parents are clearly devoid of parenting abilities. Likewise they agree on the adoption of foster children by consenting foster parents. Another finding is that the social workers only to a limited extent consider the wishes of the child when adoption is being considered.

During the interviews, the social workers did not express opposition to the laws on adoption without consent. However, they stated either that they did not perceive a need for legislation on adoption without consent or that the laws had not yet become part of their “toolbox”. The social workers are very conscious of the child’s situation in the present, but they only give limited consideration to the child’s life in its entirety. This is demonstrated by the fact that they are very conscious about not subjecting the child to yet another life-changing event by recommending non-familial adoption.
Publication date11 Jan 2016
Number of pages85
ID: 225754386