22 March 2023

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon issues official apology to people affected by historic adoption practices

Today (22 March) First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has issued an official apology to women in Scotland who were forced to give up their babies for adoption in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

It is estimated that around 250,000 families in Scotland have been impacted by the historical practice, which was common practice until the late 1970s and predominantly affected women who were young or unmarried.

Many of the women were stigmatised and forced or coerced into the adoption process by charities, churches, health professionals and social services. Some mothers suffered physical mistreatment or abuse and were denied appropriate healthcare.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament, the First Minister also discussed the impact of the historical practice on fathers and children who had their rights denied.

The legacy of the practice, which occurred in many countries across the world, continues to affect people and families today. In her statement, the First Minister thanked people affected by historical adoption practices who shared their experiences in a consultation.

The Scottish Government has committed funding to provide further support for people affected, including mental health services, reform to access to records and research to identify how existing support services can be improved.

The official apology is the first in the UK relating to historical adoption practices.