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Clin Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2012 Jan;17(1):141-50. doi: 10.1177/1359104511403559. Epub 2011 Aug 18.

Adopted children and education: the experiences of a specialist CAMHS team.

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Tavistock Clinic, London.


The education system makes special provision for "looked after children". However, once adopted these children become invisible. Adopted children are often placed in their new families when they are already of school age. School is yet another transition alongside that of home, food, language and social milieu which an adopted child has to manage together the pain of the loss of the biological family and its culture. This article focuses on the importance for CAMHS practitioners to work closely with schools and adoptive parents to help children manage their lives in school. Alongside the difficulties they face in learning, many adopted children need help in managing friendships and in concentrating on what is required of them in school. Adults may be ignorant of the day to day experiences of racism and questions about mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters that can throw an adopted child into confusion. This chapter draws on clinical experience to describe some of the difficulties that arise for parents and children in managing the education system.

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