Published online by Cambridge University Press: 30 March 2012
Relatively little work on adoption focuses on the role of social workers. This article gives an account of the conflict between social workers and prospective adoptive parents which developed in Australia in the 1970s, taking as a case study the conflicting roles of adoptive parent advocates and professional social workers within the Standing Committee on Adoption in the Australian state of Victoria. Its overarching concern lies with the historical attitudes of the social work profession towards adoption, both domestic and intercountry, as these have changed from an embrace of both adoption and adoptive parents to mutual alienation. It concludes that the inclusive practice of radical social work could only briefly contain contesting client groups.