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Adoption Research Group

This is a special interest group within the Childhood research group in the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University.

This is a special interest multi-disciplinary group within CASCADE Children's Social Care Research and Development centre.

The group conducts research, engages in policy and practice development and organises events that bring the latest research and policy debates to a mixed audience. The group has a number of doctoral students conducting research on adoption topics.

The group has excellent links with Welsh Government, adoption agencies and voluntary support and campaign groups, including:

  • Adoption UK
  • After Adoption
  • St David's Children Society
  • BAAF
  • SSAFA Forces Help Adoption Agency.

Our group members sit on a number of Government and third sector advisory boards.


The group is currently conducting the Wales Adoption Cohort Study.

Our main aims are to find out:

  • What support do families need in the first year after their child or children come to live with them? To what extent are these support needs met?
  • What are the factors that help families flourish in the first year?
  • What is the impact of the decision-making that happened before children were placed for adoption (e.g. the length of time before a plan for adoption was agreed) on families?

We have recently completed a study for the Welsh Government on adoption support services in Wales.

The research was launched on 4th July 2014 and the Deputy Minister for Social Services, Gwenda Thomas, said: "I'm very grateful to Cardiff University for producing this significant piece of research.

"As the report itself makes clear, up until now little has been known in Wales about how the post-adoption support needs of adoptive families are assessed across the country, what provision is made to meet these needs, and how adoptive families experience this process.

"The new National Adoption Service will end the postcode lottery in terms of access to services and will help to speed up the adoption process overall.  It will operate to a comprehensive set of national and regional performance measures which will help to address the inequities of access to service provision that the report identifies.

"The issues that this report raises are of fundamental importance in ensuring that adopted children and their families receive the support they need and will help inform the implementation of the National Adoption Service. I am confident that the National Adoption Service will pick up these messages and act on them to ensure that children and families' experience of adoption are transformed."

Postgraduate research

The group welcome applications from prospective research students in any area related to adoption.

Current doctoral students in the School of Social Sciences researching adoption:

  • Marja Kempenaar: Adoption Support Plans: Exploring the processes
  • Rebecca Anthony: Wales Adoption Cohort Study
  • Claire Palmer: Adoptive families with additional support needs

Meet the team

Academic staff


The Adoption Research Group hosts an annual adoption lecture.


Dr Matt Woolgar: The role of CAMHS in supporting adoption. View the lecture.

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