3.9.11 Assessment and Approval of Inter Country Adopters

SCOPE OF CHAPTER

This procedure applies to the assessment and approval of applicants resident in the UK who wish to adopt a child who is resident abroad; it also covers the procedures to be followed by the adoption service in relation to the placement of a child resident abroad with approved adopters.

For procedures in relation to the placement of a child resident in the UK with adopters resident overseas.

See Placement for Adoption Procedures.

AMENDMENT

Section 8, Home Study was updated in September 2018 to include a link to GOV.UK Benefits.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Responding to Requests for Information
  3. Initial Meetings
  4. Formal Application
  5. Health
  6. Checks and References
  7. Training Course
  8. Home Study
  9. Presentation to the Adoption Panel
  10. After the Adoption Panel's Recommendation
  11. Representations/Review Procedure
  12. After Approval
  13. Matching
  14. Adoption Orders
  15. Post Adoption Support
  16. Placement Breakdowns
  17. Review of Approval 


1. Introduction

 Applications for overseas adoption can only be accepted from residents of Walsall. Applications will be accepted from couples (married or unmarried)or single people. Applicants will be expected to identify one country from which they wish to adopt and should have a good understanding of that country's culture. Applicants will be expected to bring any adopted child up in the knowledge that he/she is adopted and to preserve and promote the child's cultural and ethnic origin. 

There is a charge for the assessment process for applicants; in addition. Where, within 5 years of their approval, domestic approved adopters wish to change their category of approval to become inter country adopters, they will be expected to meet the same charge.


2. Responding to Requests for Information

All requests for information about inter country adoption made by telephone or letter will be responded to promptly; staff in the adoption service will establish that the caller lives in the borough and if so, send an Adoption Information Pack relating to both domestic and inter country adoption within 5 working days of the request and complete a Referral Form.

This will include information about the nature and implications of adoption, the procedures involved in adopting a child domestically and from overseas, the assessment and post-approval process and charges, the checks required in relation to the prospective adopters and members of the household, and the likely time-scale involved. The information will also include expectations of prospective adopters and how the adoption agency prioritises applications to adopt children from outside the UK and looked after children, including how they are referred to other adoption agencies.

The information will also relate to the preparation and support services available to adopters (made available before, during and after adoption), including addresses and other contact points of other agencies that may be able to assist the prospective adopters particularly in relation to any specific requirements of different countries, for example the Department for Education website and the Overseas Adoption Helpline.

Those receiving the Adoption Information Pack will be asked to contact the adoption service if they wish to know more and proceed further. 


3. Initial Meeting

Those who contact the adoption service to know more will be invited to the office or an Information Meeting or visited at home, for an initial meeting to explore the main issues. The meeting will take place within 6 weeks of the initial contact. It is expected that where prospective adopters are a couple, both will attend. 

The purposes of the initial meeting are:

  • To explore why the prospective adopters wish to adopt, whether they have considered domestic adoption and how fully they understand the issues and challenges involved in adopting from overseas;
  • To discuss the need to identify personal referees, the process of Disclosure and Barring Service and other required checks including full medical reports;
  • To discuss and advise on any factors that may have an adverse effect on their application including any health problems, previous police convictions, age restrictions for such countries as China, financial status and particularly whether they are in receipt of any public funds that may affect their application;
  • To identify tasks that the prospective adopters will need to complete before proceeding to a formal application, including the need to have identified the country from which they wish to adopt and the relevant regulations for that country;
  • If the prospective adopters have not identified the country from which they wish to adopt, they should be encouraged to consider this and to begin to develop their knowledge of the country chosen;
  • To answer as far as possible any questions the prospective adopters may have regarding inter country adoption;
  • To explain clearly the law relating to inter country adoption and the need to comply with the relevant requirements, including whether they meet the relevant requirements as to domicile and habitual residence (all prospective adopters must be domicile or have been habitually resident in Great Britain for a minimum of one year) - see Intercountry Adoption and Resident Status Requirements. (The entry clearance requirements vary depending upon the circumstances of each case and prospective adopters will need to obtain their own independent legal advice to establish the requirements that apply to their individual circumstances);
  • To explain the implications for the adoption process of whether the chosen country is a Designated Country or a Non-Designated Country, and whether the Hague Convention applies;
  • To outline the process involved in adopting a child from overseas;
  • To identify the adoption service's expectations of the prospective adopters, including their attendance at a training course, their commitment to the home study process and their commitment to complete pieces of work themselves as part of the home study;
  • To explain the local authority's charges for the home study and the charges involved in attending a training course.


4. Formal Application

After the initial meeting, prospective adopters who wish to proceed will be asked to write to the adoption service confirming their interest. 

People who wish to adopt a child from overseas and earn £45,000 per year or less can apply for a fee reduction. More information on entitlement to a fee reduction can be found in the Intercountry adoption: means test form.

At this point the adoption social worker will send an application from, a Disclosure and Barring Service application form for each adult in the household and a medical form for completion by the prospective applicants' GP (see Section 5, Health). The prospective adopters will then be asked to complete and return the application form and Disclosure and Barring Service forms, together with the fee for the home study report and checks. A scale of fees will be agreed from time to time by the adoption service. The appropriate level of fee is payable regardless of whether an application is successful.

Applicants who withdraw before a report is completed will receive a refund less an amount commensurate with the amount of work already undertaken.

At the point of the formal application, the prospective adopters will be expected to have identified their country of choice, researched the country's specific requirements and be in a position to confirm their eligibility under that country's criteria. 

They should also be clear about the age range and gender of the child or children they wish to adopt and whether they are prepared to consider adopting twins/a sibling group.

They will need to agree to undertake and pay for a medical examination (see paragraph 5 below), identify three personal referees (including one relative) and consent to the taking up of references and other statutory checks (see Section 6, Checks and References), and to attend a training course (see Section 7, Training Course).

Once a completed Application Form has been received, a new Adoption Case Record should be opened for the prospective adopter.


5. Health

Prospective adopters must have a full medical examination and agree to a written report being obtained, at their own cost, from their GP. 

The GP must be specifically requested to review the prospective adopter's full medical history and address any matter relevant to the applicant's parenting or caring capacity. The report should be provided on Form AH (which will be provided to applicants).

The prospective adopters should have been seen in the three months prior to the medical report having been completed, and the report must have been written within the 6 months prior to the Adoption Panel meeting considering the application. 

Where the prospective adopter's GP has expressed concerns or where clarification of the implications of any health issues is required, detailed advice must be sought from the Medical Adviser at an early stage and the implications fully discussed with the prospective adopter and in the report. It may be necessary for reports from other health professionals also to be obtained and presented to the Adoption Panel.


6. Checks and References

A Disclosure and Barring Service Form should be completed at the same time as a formal application has been made. Applicants will be asked to confirm their identity in accordance with the requirements set out on the Form. 

(In some instances, the relevant overseas authority consider that Disclosure and Barring Service checks are only valid for 6 months, in which case the adoption worker should explain to the applicant that second Disclosure and Barring Service checks will need to be carried out later in the assessment process).

As well as writing to the Disclosure and Barring Service (for enhanced checks), on receipt of an application form, checks will be made with the relevant Health Trust, Probation, Education and Children's Services records. 

Applicants will also be asked to provide the names of two personal referees and a third referee, who is a relative. Applicants should be encouraged to choose people who know them well, have children of their own and have knowledge of the applicants' contact with children.

At the same time as the statutory checks are sent out, the personal referees and the relative referee will be sent a letter of introduction and form to complete. Referees will be informed that their references are given in confidence and will not be disclosed to the applicants.

The referees should be asked to comment on:

  1. The length of time the referee has known the applicant, in what circumstances, how they met and how regularly they are in contact;
  2. Where there is a joint application, the couple's relationship including its stability and quality, the couple's strengths and ways of coping with stress and how mutually supportive the couple is;
  3. The applicants' general physical and emotional well being;
  4. How the applicants relate to children, with examples, and what experience the applicants have of caring for children;
  5. How the applicants have adjusted to childlessness if this is the case, how they have prepared to become adoptive parents, how much they have shared with the referees and how open they are in talking about the issues surrounding adoption;
  6. How ready the applicants are to adopt from overseas, with examples, how might they be able to deal with racism and help their child to develop strategies to deal with this, and how their network will react to a child from a different ethnic background;
  7. If the applicants have children of their own, how the referee thinks a child from a different ethnic background will impact on the other children in the family;
  8. Any reservations the referee has and whether the referee wholeheartedly supports the application.

After the completed references have been received, the referee will be contacted and advised of the contact date for a personal interview (which will take place during the home study). (The relative referee is not always interviewed although still regarded as a valuable resource to gain an insight on how the extended family regards the applicants' plan to adopt a child from overseas).

A written reference must also be obtained from the employer where an applicant is or has been employed to work with children in any capacity.

Where a prospective adopter has made a previous application to foster or adopt, the relevant agency must be asked to confirm in writing the outcome of the application and provide a written reference.

The administrative staff of the adoption service will record the dates when replies to checks are received. The replies to the checks should be placed in the confidential section of the prospective adopter's Adoption Case Record.

Where the checks disclose information as a result of which a person is a Disqualified Person (Adopter), the prospective adopter will be informed that the application cannot proceed, with reasons. However, where it is a member of the household who has a caution or conviction as a result of which the applicant/s is/are disqualified, the details of the caution/conviction can only be disclosed to the applicant with the consent of the subject.

Where there are concerns about an applicant's circumstances, for example where there are concerns about their health, or about the information obtained from referees or about the applicants' attempt to cover up information about offences, the applicant may be advised not to proceed with the application.

Where despite the concerns, the applicant/s still wish to pursue their application, the assessing social worker must prepare a brief Prospective Adopter's Report and present it to the Adoption Panel, following the same procedure as where a full report is submitted (see sections 9 to 11 below).


7. Training Course

As part of the assessment process, the prospective adopters will be required to attend a course of preparation groups. 

The prospective adopters will meet all costs for the training. Their assessment will not be completed until they have attended all sessions on the training course. Prospective adopters are expected to attend all sessions of the course.

A report by the facilitators of the training course will be included in the assessment report presented to the Adoption Panel.

In the event that it is known in advance that the prospective adopters are unable to attend the full course, the adoption worker will liaise with those running the training course as to whether a later course might be available or whether the prospective adopters should attend as much of the course as they can.

In the event that the prospective adopters are unavoidably absent from one or more of the sessions, the adoption worker will liaise with those running the training course as to whether the prospective adopters can fit into the missed session(s) on a later course. 

If prospective adopters decide to withdraw during the training course, they should discuss this with the facilitator outside the sessions and a meeting will be arranged with their adoption worker to discuss this. Applicants who withdraw will receive a refund less an amount commensurate with the amount of work already undertaken.


8. Home Study

An adoption worker will be allocated to carry out a home study of the applicants, which should be completed within 6 months. 

The allocated worker must be a qualified social worker with a minimum of 3 years post-qualification experience of child care work, including direct experience of adoption work. Where the allocated worker does not meet the above requirements, he/she must be a qualified social worker or a social worker in training and be supervised by a social worker who does meet the requirements. Where the allocated worker is not employed by the borough, he/she must meet the requirements and be supervised by a practitioner who also meets the requirements.

The home study is carried out in the same way as assessments for domestic adoption and will consist of a series of interviews, most of which will be carried out at the applicant's home. 

Each applicant should be interviewed on their own and with their partner; all members of the household and all the children of the family must also be seen separately on at least one occasion, including children of previous relationships. 

The home study is an assessment of the suitability of the applicants to adopt and a further preparation for adoptive parenthood. It should be an open process during which information and views will be shared and feedback given.

In addition to obtaining detailed background information on the applicants, the process should examine the applicants' understanding of the issues involved in adopting a child from overseas, their ability to cope with the practical and emotional difficulties that may arise and their understanding of trans-racial adoption.

During the home study, applicants should be asked to prepare pieces of work in order to demonstrate their understanding of the issues involved and their ideas for managing these.

As part of the home study:

  1. A chronology of events in each applicant's life must be compiled, showing his or her educational, employment, marital and relationship history, experience of caring for children and addresses for the previous 10 years; any gaps and/or unusual patterns should be explored;
  2. All information provided by applicants must be independently verified where possible;
  3. Where an applicant has been divorced or separated, factors contributing to the breakdown of the relationship must be verified. (This applies equally to significant relationships between unmarried couples);
  4. The applicant's ability to meet the chosen country's eligibility criteria (for example some countries impose age restrictions) and any outstanding immigration issues should be clarified;
  5. The applicant's financial status should be established and the likely effect on their financial circumstances if a placement is made. (Some countries will require documentary evidence of income, savings and property value and one of the immigration conditions to the UK is that the adopted child will be maintained and accommodated adequately without recourse to public funds. 

    Applicants in receipt of public funds can only therefore be considered if they will not have to rely on additional public funds to support their child;
  6. For this purpose, public funds include income support, housing benefit, child benefit, working tax credit, child tax credit, council tax reduction, attendance allowance, jobseeker’s allowance, employment and support allowance (ESA); personal independence payments, and universal credit (in some areas) – see GOV.UK;
  7. The implications of adopting a child who shares few, if any, of the racial, cultural and linguistic inheritance of the adopters' family and who may have suffered considerable early disadvantage must be explored in depth with applicants, in particular their understanding of trans-cultural issues and the child's cultural heritage and their ability to help a child make sense of their background and the child's search for identity;
  8. The applicants' ability to accept uncertainty regarding a child's medical and social background, and developmental prospects, must be explored;
  9. The suitability of the applicants to adopt more than one child, if this is what they have applied for, must be assessed. 

The assessment should contain a summary of the strengths and weaknesses of the applicants in relation to the adoption of a child from overseas and any potential risk factors highlighted. 

Any concerns or disagreements between the adoption worker and the applicants about the applicants' ability or capacity to meet the needs of a child adopted from overseas should be addressed.

If the social worker's recommendation to the Adoption Panel differs from the wishes of the applicants, full reasons should be given and the applicants' response included.

Where the prospective adopters are being assessed in relation to a particular child, the social worker should obtain the maximum available information on the child and the assessment should address the ability of the prospective adopters to meet the needs of the child concerned.

Applicants wishing to adopt a second or third child will need to be reassessed. This will not usually start until after the adoption order in relation to the first child has been made in the UK (in relation to a child from a Non-Designated Country) or until 12 months have elapsed

since the child has lived with the applicants, (in relation to a child from a Designated Country).

The assessment should also consider the likely need for adoption support services of the applicants and any member of their family, including:

  • Advice and counselling, for example with managing a child's behaviour and/or helping the child to deal with racism or any other discrimination;
  • Health, education, leisure and cultural services;
  • Information about local and national support groups and services;
  • Helping the child to explore his or her birth heritage.

See Adoption Support Services Procedure.

Before the Report is finalised, it should be passed to the social worker's team manager for approval.

Where the team manager considers that there are outstanding issues of concern or matters which require further clarification, he/she must arrange for a suitably qualified and experienced social worker to carry out a further visit to the applicant and report back to him/her in relation to these issues, before the final report can be approved.

The completed Prospective Adopter's Report, suitably anonymised, (containing a report on the outcome of the assessment and recommendations of the adoption worker carrying out the assessment), should be shared with and signed by the applicant. 

This gives the applicant the opportunity to make any comments, for example, by expressing disagreement or support for the recommendations. 

The applicant will be given 10 working days in which to make any written observations and comments on the contents of the reports or asked to sign a disclaimer stating they do not wish to take 10 days to comment.

The applicant should also be advised of their right to attend the meeting of Adoption Panel, which considers their case.

A copy of the report should be sent to the Panel Coordinator at least 14 days before the relevant Panel meeting.


9. Presentation to the Adoption Panel

The applicants will be invited and encouraged to attend the Panel when their application is considered. The decision to attend rests with the applicants and a wish not to attend will not prejudice consideration of their application.

 Applicants who decide they wish to attend should be fully prepared as to the procedure prior to their attendance, including being provided with written information about the Panel process, its membership, who will attend and their

If the applicants know a particular Panel member, the applicant may request that the Panel member stand down. (Panel members are in any event expected to declare an interest in these circumstances - see Adoption Panel Procedure).

The Panel will consider the written report together with all the supporting documentation and any additional information presented verbally, and make a recommendation to the Agency Decision-Maker (Inter Country Adoption) regarding the suitability of the applicants to adopt a child from a named country.

Where the assessment is in relation to a particular child, the recommendation should specify the name and date of birth of the child.

The supporting documentation is the report on the interviews with the referees and a report from the local authority where the applicants have previously lived, if relevant. The full health report on the applicants should also be presented to the Panel if the Medical Adviser considers this appropriate.

Where approval is recommended, the Panel must consider and may also give advice as to the number, age range, gender, likely needs and background of a child or children for whom the applicant would be suitable. 

The recommendation and advice will be recorded in writing, with reasons, in the Panel's minutes.

If the applicants do not attend the Panel, they will be informed verbally of the Panel recommendation and any advice given on the same day as the meeting. 


10. After the Adoption Panel's Recommendation

The Adoption Panel's written recommendation, together with the reports considered, will be sent to the Agency Decision Maker Designated Manager (Inter Country Adoption), who will make a decision as to the approval of the applicant. Where advice has been given by the Panel, the Agency Decision Maker may also express a view on such advice.

Where the Agency Decision Maker is minded to disagree with the Panel recommendation, he or she should discuss this with a senior officer with the relevant experience and who is not a Panel member, and record this discussion, before arriving at a decision. The record of the discussion should be placed on the prospective adopters' Adoption Case Record.

The decision must be made within 7 working days of the Panel meeting and must be recorded, together with reasons.

The applicants will be advised of the decision orally within 2 working days. Written notice of the decision, signed by the Designated Manager (Inter Country Adoption), will be sent to the applicants by the Panel Coordinator within 5 working days of the decision. 

Where the decision is that the applicants are suitable, the notice must specify the number, age range, gender and characteristics of child or children for whom the applicant would be suitable, as well as the country from which they wish to adopt. 

In relation to cases where the assessment is in relation to a particular child, the decision and notice should specify the name and date of birth of the child. The letter should also make clear that the decision is subject to the endorsement of the Department for Education and that it does not guarantee that a child will be considered suitable for them by the overseas authorities.

The notice should also advise the applicants of the next stages of the process, the length of time for which the assessment report is valid, the need to report any change of circumstances and the circumstances in which an update report may be required.

Where the decision differs from the recommendation of the Adoption Panel, a copy of the Panel recommendation will also be sent with the written notice.

Counselling, advice and support should be offered to the applicants as necessary.


11. Representations/Review Procedure 

If the Designated Manager (Inter Country Adoption) decides not to approve the application, the applicant will be advised that if he or she wishes to challenge the decision, representations should be submitted either in person to the next available Adoption Panel or in writing, or a referral can be made to the Independent Review Mechanism (run by CoramBAAF).

The Representations Procedures is set out in Assessment and Approval of Adoptive Parents Procedure, Representations / Review Procedure.


12. After Approval 

Following approval, the Panel Coordinator will forward to the Department for Education the reports presented to the Adoption Panel, the Adoption Panel minute and the written notice of the Designated Manager (Inter Country Adoption)'s decision. The documents must be sent by recorded delivery.

The Intercountry Adoption Forms: checklist for adoption details the paperwork adoption agencies must include in intercountry adoption applications they submit to DfE.

The process is as follows:

  • After approving intercountry adoption applicants as suitable to adopt, adoption agencies must send a completed application to the Department for Education (DfE) intercountry adoption casework team;
  • It is recommended that agencies attach the checklist to the front of the application to make sure they send all the necessary documents;
  • The adoption applicant must complete the contact sheet as part of the application;
  • The checklist includes instructions on when to use the disclaimer;
  • The ‘Intercountry adoption and resident status requirements’ guidance is for prospective adopters;
  • Agencies must make sure that the application is complete before sending it to the casework team as the submission of incomplete files will result in delays.

Once the documents are sent, the adoption service will usually not be involved further with the application, until the chosen country identifies a child for whom an adoptive family is sought.

Some countries, notably India and Thailand, require undertakings from the applicants' local authority to be included in the support documents. Where applicable, a letter confirming this undertaking needs to be given to the applicants for the applicants to include with the documents they have to send to the Department for Education.

The Department for Education will check whether the statutory requirements have been met and will then decide whether to issue a Certificate of Eligibility and Suitability and inform the adoption service and the prospective adopters of the decision. 

The Certificate, if granted, will state that the prospective adopters have been assessed as suitable to adopt and a child adopted by them will be granted leave to enter the United Kingdom subject to Entry Clearance and the making of an Adoption Order.

The Department for Education will then arrange for the necessary papers to be passed to the relevant overseas authority, which decides whether to accept the application and identifies a child to be matched with the adopters. 

The Department for Education will confirm in writing to the adoption service and the prospective adopters that the papers have been sent.


13. Matching

The matching part of the process may be the subject of considerable delay depending on the waiting list of the chosen country.

If the authorities in the relevant country approve the application, when a suitable child is available for placement, they should send the papers to the Department for Education, who will in turn send them to the adoption service and the prospective adopters.

Occasionally, the country will inform the prospective adopters directly; they should be advised during the home study to inform the adoption social worker immediately if this happens. The adoption social worker should then discuss the child with the prospective adopters before they make a decision or make any plans to travel to meet the child.

The adoption social worker should then arrange to meet the prospective adopters within 10 working days to discuss the possible placement, before they make a decision or make any plans to travel to meet the child. The prospective adopters should be given information about adoption support and the Medical Adviser's view of the child's health needs, as well as counselling about the uncertainty of the child's future needs.

The preparation of the prospective adopters for the adoptive placement should include the adoption social worker assisting the prospective adopters to gain full information about the child, arranging access to a specialist advice as appropriate and stressing the importance of post-adoption reports consistent with any undertakings given to the child’s state of origin.

Before accepting a child, the applicants must travel to meet the child. Where a couple are applying to adopt, both applicants must travel.

As soon as the prospective adopters have accepted the match, they should notify the adoption service in writing. 

The routes to placement and adoption will vary depending on the laws of the child's state of origin.

In a Convention case, the agency must notify the Department for Education that the match has been accepted, that the required procedures have been followed and that they are content for the adoption to proceed. 

The Department for Education will then check with the Home Office that the child will be granted entry to the UK and if this is confirmed, will make an agreement with the relevant country to allow the placement and adoption to go ahead. 

Once the agency is notified of the agreement it must send notification of the proposed placement to the prospective adopter's GP (including a written and up to date health report on the child); and the local authority (if not the agency), the Clinical Commissioning Group and (where the child is of school age) the Local Education Authority for the area where the prospective adopter lives.

In a non-Convention case, the agency must notify the Department for Education that the match has been accepted and that the required procedures have been followed, and the relevant authority in the state of origin will make arrangements for placing the child.

As soon as the prospective adopters have accepted the match, the adoption social worker should advise them to apply for entry clearance for the child, by sending the child's details to the Entry Clearance Officer at the UK Embassy or High Commission closest to the country where the child is living.

Where there are no suitable children to match with the prospective adopters, the overseas authority will notify the Department for Education, and they will notify the adoption service. An adoption worker will be allocated to inform the prospective adopters and assist them to decide what further action to take, including a further report to the Adoption Panel seeking approval for a different country.


14. Adoption Orders

Designated Countries

If an adoption order has been made in a Designated Country, it is recognised under UK law and the child's visa usually states 'for settlement'. The adoption service then has no further involvement other than providing or making arrangements for post-adoption services.

Adoption Orders made in Designated Countries do not automatically result in the child acquiring British citizenship. An application for registration will usually need to be made; application forms can be obtained from the Nationality Directorate of the Home Office or from any British Diplomatic Post.

Non-Designated Countries

The arrangements for the placement will vary from country to country; the prospective adopters will either adopt child in the child's country or bring the child to the UK for the purposes of adoption in a UK Court. 

If an adoption order has been made in a Non-Designated Country, the Order is not recognised in the UK. 

The prospective adopters must seek clearance for the child to enter the UK from the nearest British Embassy, Consulate or High Commission. Immigration requirements are set out in the Home Office leaflet on inter country adoption, which is included in the Information Pack. If the Entry Clearance Officer is satisfied that the entry requirements have been met, a visa for a limited period, usually one year, will be issued.

The prospective adopters must notify the adoption service within 14 days of arriving in the UK with the child of their intention to apply for an adoption order (or their intention not to provide a home to the child). This gives the child the status of a Privately Fostered Child and the notice should be acknowledged by the adoption service.

An Adoption Case Record must then be set.

up for the child. Any information received from the relevant authority in the child's state of origin, the agency that approved the prospective adopters (if not the local authority), the prospective adopters, the Entry Clearance Officer and the Department for Education should be placed on the case record.

The adoption service will arrange for a social worker to monitor the child's welfare by regular visits to the family home. There will be a charge for this service.

The allocated worker must be a qualified social worker with a minimum of 3 years post-qualification experience of child care work, including direct experience of adoption work. Where the allocated worker does not meet the above requirements, he/she must be a qualified social worker or a social worker in training and be supervised by a social worker who does meet the requirements. Where the allocated worker is not employed by the borough, he/she must meet the requirements and be supervised by a practitioner who also meets the requirements.

The allocated worker must send notification of the child's arrival in the UK to the prospective adopter's GP (including a written and up to date health report on the child), the Clinical Commissioning Group and (where the child is of school age) the Local Education Authority for the area where the prospective adopter lives.

Starting from the receipt of notification of the prospective adopters' intention to adopt, the allocated worker should visit weekly for the first four weeks.

The allocated worker should also arrange for the placement to be reviewed within 4 weeks of the receipt of notice of intention to adopt. Thereafter the requirement is for the local authority to visit and review not more than 3 months after the first review and thereafter every 6 months.

The purpose of the review is to enable the local authority to consider whether the child's needs are being met and if not, what advice and assistance may be provided. To do this, the review must consider the child's needs, welfare and development, and if any changes are required to meet the child's needs or assist his/her development; and the arrangements for the provision of adoption support and whether there should be a re-assessment of the need for those services; and the need for further visits and reviews.

If the prospective adopters notifies the local authority of their intention to move to the area of another local authority, the original local authority must notify the new authority of the child's name, sex, date and place of birth; the prospective adopter's name, sex, date and place of birth; the date the child entered the UK; the date of the notification to adopt and whether an adoption application has been made and if so, the stage of the proceedings; and any other relevant information.

The social worker should also advise prospective adopters of the most appropriate timing of their adoption application. An adoption application cannot be made until the child has lived with the prospective adopters for 6 months or more.

It is likely that the prospective adopters will need to apply for an extension of the child's visa, which is usually straightforward if an adoption application has been made.

When the prospective adopters make their adoption application, the Court will notify the adoption service and request that a Court report is produced supplied directly to the court.

See Court Reports in Adoption/Special Guardianship Procedure for the contents.

If no adoption application has been filed within 2 years, a special review must be held. This review must consider the child's needs, welfare and development, and if any changes are required to meet the child's needs or assist his/her development; the arrangements for the exercise of parental responsibility in relation to the child; the terms of the child's entry clearance and the child's immigration status; the arrangements for the provision of adoption support and whether there should be a re-assessment of the need for those services; the arrangements for meeting the child's health care and educational needs; the reason why no adoption application has been made; and the options for the child's future permanence.

When an Adoption Order is made in the UK, it automatically confers British Citizenship on the child provided one of the adoptive applicants is a British citizen at the time the Adoption Order is made.

Where the adopters are not British citizens, they will need to seek clearance to allow the child to remain in the UK, on the same basis as them.

See Section 15 - Post Adoption Support.


15. Post Adoption Support

Families who have adopted from abroad are eligible for the same post-adoption support as in domestic adoptions.

See Adoption Support Services Procedure.


16. Placement Breakdowns

If, after the child is placed, the prospective adopters decide not to proceed with the adoption or an adoption order is refused or a Convention Adoption order is annulled, the child must be considered as a Child in Need in accordance with the procedures for All Children set out in Part 1 of the Manual.

The child's social worker must notify the Department for Education.

The child's social worker must assess the child in accordance with the Assessment Framework, including whether it remains in the child's interests to be placed in the UK and be placed with an alternative adoptive family.

Where it is determined that it would not be in the child's best interests to remain in the UK, the child's social worker must notify the Department for Education. The Department for Education will notify the relevant overseas authority, which will make arrangements for the return of the child.

Where it is determined that it would be in the child's best interests to remain in the UK, the child's social worker must take the necessary steps to identify a suitable alternative placement in accordance with Placement for Adoption Procedures and amend the child's immigration status.

The child's social worker and the Family Finder from the adoption service will take the necessary steps to provide an alternative placement.

Once an adoptive family has been identified, the child's social worker will notify the Department for Education. The Department for Education will advise the child's country of origin of the change.


17. Review of Approval

The requirements for reviewing the approval of approved inter country adopters with no placement is the same as for agency adopters, i.e. every 12 months. See Assessment and Approval of Agency Adoptive Parents Procedure for procedure on review of approvals.

This requirement to review continues until (in relation to a Convention country) the prospective adopters have received notification in writing from the central authority that an agreement under Article 17 has been made so the adoption may proceed or (in relation to a non-Convention country) the prospective adopters have visited the child in their country and confirmed in writing that they wish to proceed with the adopt.

End