Children Moving Between UK Nations

Children Moving Between UK Nations

Children Moving Between UK nations reports on a research study undertaken by AFKA Scotland in 2021-22, funded by Scotland’s Adoption Register. It is the first national study, to our knowledge, which explores the frequency and context of children from elsewhere in the UK placed for adoption with families across Scotland.The study gathered first hand experiences and insights of both parents from Scotland who adopted their child(ren) from other UK jurisdictions and workers from both Local Authorities and Voluntary Adoption Agencies who have supported cross border adoptions. It was carried out by Jessica Cleary and Maggie Grant.

Whilst recognising the value and necessity of cross-border adoptions for many children and families, especially those who otherwise may not have found a permanent family, this study aimed to develop a better understanding of the key factors that led to a rise in these placement types in recent years, as well as consider the subsequent implications and challenges of adoption in the context of cross-border placements. In exploring the context and implications of cross-border adoption placements, this report highlights key implications specific to cross-border placements which all stakeholders working in the area of adoption across Scotland need to consider, given the well-documented differences in practice, legislation and policy between UK nations. However, the findings also call attention to broader systematic issues that adversely affect adoption processes and experiences in Scotland, transcending the subject of cross-border placements and relevant to the wider picture of adoption in Scotland.

The aims of the study were to:

  • collate an accurate up-to-date picture of cross-border adoption placements in Scotland
  • identify and critically explore adopters’ and practitioners’ perceptions of the key factors underpinning this trend
  • consider the implications of the project’s findings for current policy and practice in Scotland


For further information on the findings and outputs from this project, please contact Jess Cleary.