Birth fathers yesterday and today: differences and continuities over a 30-year period

Gary Clapton, John Clifton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The history of adoption in the UK can be divided into two approximate eras: prior to 1980, ‘relinquished’ babies were placed with childless couples; post-1980, adoption was increasingly seen as an alternative permanence option for children in care. This article explores the changes and continuities in the experiences of one group of people in the adoption process over these
two periods: birth fathers. In the light of the dearth of research on this group, the authors compare their own studies of birth fathers from each era to identify constants and changes in birth father experiences and what can be learned for future adoption practice. The findings show that contemporary birth fathers
are likely to be older, more vulnerable and more likely to have parented their child. It is suggested that while there is greater acknowledgement of the significance of fathers and today’s birth fathers have more legal rights than their predecessors (though not complete parity with mothers) and have more complex lives, services have yet to devise more inclusive practices.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAdoption & Fostering
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • adoption
  • birth fathers
  • adoption support


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