3.9.3 Placement for Adoption

RELEVANT CHAPTER

See Child Appreciation Days Guidance.

RELATED GUIDANCE

Contact After Adoption - Support materials for practitioners working on making positive post-adoption contact plans and supporting birth relatives and adopters through contact planning for their child.

AMENDMENT

This chapter was updated in September 2017. In related guidance a link was added to Contact After Adoption - Support materials for practitioners working on making positive post-adoption contact plans and supporting birth relatives and adopters through contact planning for their child.


Contents

  1. Formal Approval of Adoption Plan for the Child
  2. Presentation to the Adoption Panel
  3. Referral Directly to Agency Decision Maker
  4. After the Decision
  5. Preparation of Child for Adoption
  6. Counselling and Support for Parents
  7. Child’s Adoption Medical
  8. Pre and Post Order Adoption Contact
  9. Identification of Adoptive Parents (including Inter Agency Placements)
  10. Temporary Approval as Foster Carers of Approved Prospective Adopters
  11. Approval of Matching of Adoptive Parents
  12. Planning the Placement
  13. The Placement
  14. Children Approved for Adoption for Whom no Placement has been Identified
  15. Adoptive Placements Abroad

    Appendix 1: Adoption Consultation Process Part A

    Appendix 2: Adoption Consultation Process Part B

    Appendix 3: Adoption Planning For Children Flowchart


1. Formal Approval of Adoption Plan for the Child

1.

From 1 September 2012, not all cases must be referred to the Adoption Panel. Cases where the criteria apply for the local authority to apply for a Placement Order, i.e. the child is the subject of a Care Order or the Threshold Criteria for a Care Order are satisfied or where there is no parent or guardian, will not be referred to the Adoption Panel for a recommendation, but will be referred directly to the Agency Decision Maker for a decision. All other cases (i.e. where the parents have given consent and there is no application for a Placement Order) will continue to be referred to the Adoption Panel for a recommendation, which the Agency Decision Maker will take into account when making a decision.

There is a requirement that all Looked After children have a Permanence Plan put in place at the second Looked After Review. However, best practice would suggest that permanency should be considered at the first Looked After Review if it is evident that a placement outside of the birth family may be required. Before such a plan can be made, consultation with all relevant parties must have taken place. Where such a permanence plan envisages the child being placed away from their birth family, the Independent Reviewing Officer will refer the case to the adoption service for an adoption consultation. The adoption service manager or duty social worker from the adoption service will liaise with the child’s social worker and if needed the child’s carer to conduct an adoption consultation;
2. Where the Adoption Consultation Meeting recommends adoption in relation to a Looked After Child, this must be presented to and ratified at the child’s Looked After Review;
3.

Where the Adoption Consultation Meeting recommends a Twin Track Plan including adoption in relation to a Looked After Child, this must be presented to and ratified at the child’s Looked After Review. A representative of the adoption service is not required for this Looked After Review. However, Independent Reviewing will send a copy of the minutes to the adoption team manager.

An Adoption Case Record must be opened for all children who have been relinquished for adoption immediately. For all other children the case record will be set up once adoption has been confirmed as the plan for the child. Where the plan relates to a group of siblings, there must be a separate Adoption Case Record for each child;
4. Where the plan relates to an unborn child or child relinquished for adoption by the parents, the Initial Response Service will undertake an initial visit to the family jointly with a member of the adoption team. Where the initial visit establishes that the family has had no previous contact with Children’s Social Care Services, and adoption seems the most likely outcome, with the full co-operation with the birth family the case will be transferred to one of the three corporate parenting teams. Where it seems more likely that the intervention of the courts will be required to protect the interest of the child, the case will be transferred to one of the teams in the Safeguarding and Family Support Service. In all cases of children relinquished for adoption, a social worker from the adoption team will also remain involved to assist in supporting the birth parents and to family find for the child;
5.

As soon as adoption is the Permanence Plan for the child, the child's social worker must: arrange a date for the case to be referred to the Adoption Panel (where the parents have given consent and there is no application for a Placement Order)/Agency Decision Maker (in all other cases). This date must be a maximum of 2 months from the date when the adoption plan was ratified at the child's Looked After Review. Where this timescale is not met, the reason should be recorded.

The child’s social worker should then send the Forms B and M (requesting an obstetric report on the mother and neo-natal report on the child) to the Medical Advisers with a request that the Form be completed and returned to the social worker. A copy of the consent form completed by parents (or completed by the worker with as much information as possible and a clear explanation of why parents refused to complete it);
6. An adoption medical must be completed, please see section on adoption medicals;
7. The child’s social worker must contact the child’s school or the relevant local education authority for current information in relation to the child’s educational needs;
8. The child’s social worker must ask the child’s carer to complete a report on the child. (This will be required for the Child’s Permanence Report and the Adoption Medical – see paragraph 11);
9.

The child’s social worker must ensure that the adoption plan addresses the issue of contact both before and after the order is made. This will include consideration to a one off meeting between the parents and the adopters, and ongoing direct contact or indirect contact via a letterbox system. (Contact the adoption service for further information). Any proposals for such contact will take account of information already available and assessments already undertaken – see Section 8, Pre and Post Order Adoption Contact

If the child has siblings, the plan must analyse the relationship between each child in the sibling group and, if the decision is to place siblings separately, good practice suggests that the BAAF publication ‘Together or Apart’ (ISBN 1 873868 95 2) is used on all occasions to address the issue of adoption contact between them;
10 The child’s social worker must also carry out an assessment of the likely needs for adoption support services in relation to the child (including his or her eligibility for financial support), the birth parents and any other person with a significant relationship to the child. For the detailed procedures, see Adoption Support Services Procedure;
11.

Using all the information obtained in relation to the above, the child’s social worker must complete the Child’s Permanence Report, available electronically.

The following areas must be addressed in the Child’s Permanence Report:

  • Profile of the child based on Report from the child’s current carer (completed as an Annex to Adoption Medical BAAF Form C or D) as well as other information about the child’s personality, nationality, racial origin, religious persuasion, legal status and relationship with birth family;
  • A summary, written by the agency’s medical adviser, of the state of the child’s health, health history and any need for health care which might arise in the future;
  • The child’s wishes in relation to the adoption plan and his or her preferred method of communication;
  • The views of the child and children’s guardian (where possible) in relation to adoption and contact;
  • The views of the birth family and significant others in relation to the adoption plan and future contact and their opportunity to receive and comment on the report before the report is presented to Adoption Panel;
  • A report of the child’s educational needs, including for those over the age of 3 years the Personal Education Plan;
  • Any other relevant specialist reports on the child;
  • An assessment of need of child and parent for adoption support, using form WSS992. If financial support is appropriate for the child, the written authority of the Designated Manager (Adoption Support) is required before any commitments are made;
  • A report on the preparation work, undertaken and planned, with the child;
  • An assessment of the child’s needs for future contact with birth family including siblings;
  • A report on the counselling and support provided for the birth parents, (see Section 6, Counselling and Support for Parents);
  • A Chronology of the decisions and actions taken by the agency with respect to the child;
  • An analysis of the options for the child’s future care and the alternatives to adoption considered;
  • Where the child has siblings, whether the decision is to place siblings separately or together and the rationale for the decision;
  • Any other information which the agency considers relevant.

The social worker must review the report to ensure it does not contain confidential information not known to the child’s parents e.g. adoptive names or locations of siblings. Once this has been completed the social worker must ask the parents to sign an acknowledgement that they have had the opportunity to read the form and make amendments. The child’s birth mother must be asked to record their views on part F of the Child’s Permanence Report and the birth father on part G. If they are unwilling or unable to complete this, clear reasons as to why and also what attempts have been made to carry out this piece of work must be recorded on parts F and G of the Child’s Permanence Report. 

Where this is in keeping with the child’s age and understanding the child must also be given the opportunity to have their wishes and feelings recorded on part E of the Child’s Permanence Report. If they are unwilling or unable to complete this, clear reasons as to why must be recorded on part E of the Child’s Permanence Report. If the child is unable to voice their wishes and feelings due to their age or level of understanding, social workers must use their skills and expertise to interpret the child’s understanding of their situation. It is not acceptable to simply state ‘the child is too young to comment’;
12. Those parts of the Report that contain factual information about the birth family should be shared with the relevant family members to enable them to confirm their accuracy and agree to it being passed on to a child in due course. Any such agreement should be clearly recorded on the child’s case record. Each of the child’s parents should be shown those parts of the Report which set out their views and wishes, and given the opportunity, if they so wish, to express these in their own words. Where appropriate, the relevant sections should also be provided to the child.


2. Presentation to the Adoption Panel

See Section 1, paragraph 1 for circumstances when the case will be referred to the Adoption Panel, and when the case will be referred directly to the Agency Decision Maker. Where cases are referred directly to the Agency Decision Maker, Section 2 does not apply and the procedure is set out in Section 3, Referral Directly to Agency Decision Maker.

The date for the Panel must be a maximum of 2 months from the date when the adoption plan was ratified at the child's Looked After Review. Where this timescale is not met, the Adoption Panel should record the reason.

To enable the Adoption Panel to consider whether the child should be placed for adoption - the child’s social worker must present the following reports:

  1. A front sheet stating what is being reported, the reports included, the recommendations sought and who will be attending Adoption Panel;
  2. The Child’s Permanence Report (including the Medical Adviser’s comments) signed by the child’s social worker and the manager;
  3. Parts E, F and G of the Child’s Permanence Report must also be included; the social worker should report the date the birth parents and child were given the opportunity to make their wishes and feelings known. If the parent or parents declined to sign, the social worker should report the date the opportunity was provided;
  4. The written assessment on the child’s needs for contact, including with siblings;
  5. Legal advice about Parental Consent and the option of seeking a Placement Order;
  6. An Adoption Support Plan (WSS 992) addressing the child’s and birth relatives’ needs for adoption support services;
  7. Adoption and Children Act 2002 requirements Monitoring Form;
  8. Where experts' assessments are available (including where they have been filed in Court proceedings), their contents and recommendations - even if not supportive of the adoption plan - should be presented to the Panel/Agency Decision Maker. The full reports should be presented unless they are voluminous, in which case, as a minimum, those sections setting out the experts’ opinion, conclusions and recommendations should be provided. A written summary of such reports should only be provided if all parties to the court proceedings agree in writing that the summary is fair and accurate. Copies of the full reports should be available for Panel members (at the panel meeting) and the Agency Decision Maker to consult if desired.

The child’s social worker must take a photograph of the child to the Adoption Panel meeting. 

The child’s social worker will send the relevant reports to the Panel Coordinator within the agreed timescale. Details of these dates are available from the panel administrator.

The child’s social worker (together with his or her manager if appropriate) and the Family Finder, if identified, will attend the Adoption Panel meeting during consideration of the matter. 

(N.B. Where the social worker is seeking a recommendation in relation to the matching of the child to a specific adoptive placement at the same time, the procedure set out in Section 11, Approval of Matching of Adoption Parents must also be followed.)

The Panel will consider the written reports and any additional information presented verbally. The Panel will make a recommendation to the Agency Decision Maker (Adoption).

The recommendation will be recorded in writing, together with reasons, in the Panel’s minutes. A copy of the relevant minute must be held on the child’s Adoption Case Record.

The child’s social worker should convey the Panel’s recommendation (and advice) orally to the child (depending on age and level of understanding) and the parents within 2 working days.

For cases which are presented to the Adoption Panel, the final minutes must be produced promptly and agreed by the Panel members and then sent to the Agency Decision Maker, together with the reports considered by the Panel, to allow the decision to be made within seven working days of receipt of the panel’s recommendation and final set of panel minutes.

The Agency Decision Maker must record his or her decision in writing, together with reasons.

Where the Agency Decision Maker is minded to disagree with the Panel recommendation, he/she must discuss the reservations with a senior colleague (non-Panel member). A record of the discussion must go on the child’s Adoption Case Record.


3. Referral Directly to Agency Decision Maker

See Section 1, paragraph 1 for circumstances when the case will be referred to the Adoption Panel, and when the case will be referred directly to the Agency Decision Maker.

Where cases are to be referred directly to the Agency Decision Maker for a decision, a time should be booked with the Agency Decision Maker for the decision to be made and this should be a maximum of 2 months from the date when the adoption plan was ratified at the child's Looked After Review. In order for the decision to be made within this timescale, the Agency Decision Maker should be sent the same reports and information as would be submitted to the Adoption Panel, as set out in Section 2, Presentation to the Adoption Panel.

The child's social worker will send the relevant reports to the Agency Adviser at least 10 working days before the relevant date booked with the Agency Decision Maker. It is the responsibility of the social worker and their team manager to ensure the reports are of the required standard, particular attention should be paid to spelling and grammatical errors.

The Agency Adviser will be responsible for checking the quality of the reports before they are submitted to the Agency Decision Maker.

In making the decision the Agency Decision Maker may discuss the case with the Agency Adviser, Medical Adviser and legal adviser. However, there is no provision for adjourning the decision to allow time for taking advice. N.B. The Agency Decision Maker is expressly prohibited from referring a case to the Adoption Panel for advice.


4. After the Decision

The parents will be informed orally of the agency’s decision within two working days and written confirmation should be sent to them within five working days. These arrangements will be made by the Agency Decision Maker in conjunction with the child’s social worker.

The method of delivery of the letter setting out the agency decision must be recorded.

Where a decision has been made to seek a Placement Order - in relation to the child, the child’s social worker should consult Legal Services in order to prepare the Court application.

In cases where parental consent is forthcoming and it has been agreed to proceed on that basis, the social worker will contact the CAFCASS office nearest to where the parent lives and ask for a CAFCASS officer to be appointed to witness the parent’s consent. The social worker to need to supply the following documents to CAFCASS:

  • Child’s birth certificate;
  • Name and address of parent;
  • Chronology of local authority actions and decisions;
  • Confirmation that parents have received counselling and information on the legal implications of consent and limitations on ability to withdraw consent.

Parental consent, once witnessed, will be returned by CAFCASS and should be placed on child’s Adoption Case Record. This will provide the authority to place the child. N.B. Where the child is less than 6 weeks old, the parents can be asked to sign a written agreement with the local authority and an adoptive placement can go ahead on that basis (after the placement has been to Panel and the Agency Decision Maker for agreement) but CAFCASS must be asked to witness the consent as soon as the child is 6 weeks old.


5. Preparation of Child for Adoption

1. The child’s social worker will ensure that Life Story Work with the child continues with the aim so far as possible that:
  • The child has an understanding of the reasons for the adoption plan and what adoption will mean;
  • The child has an opportunity to express his or her wishes and feelings about the future; and
  • The child has information on the child’s birth family, which is kept safe for them and provided to the adopters and the child at the appropriate time.

As part of the above, the child will be given a Children’s Guide to Adoption as soon as adoption is part of the child’s Care Plan. Any information given to the child should be confirmed in writing and any discussions with the child should be fully recorded. The child’s preferred method of communication should be known and there should be no assumption that a child is unable to communicate.

Where a child’s wishes are not acted upon, for example a child’s wish to be placed with his or her siblings, this should be explained to the child, with reasons, and should be fully recorded;
2. The foster carers’ link worker will support the foster carers in playing their part in the preparation of the plan, including careful recording by the foster carers in the Daily Record of any changes in the child’s behaviour. There will be an expectation that the foster carers will complete an ‘All About Me’ treasure box with the child, as well as any photographic and/or video records of their time in the placement – this information needs to be accurate and up to date. The completion of this should be considered as part of the foster carers’ supervision – see Supervision of Foster Carers;
3. Once an adoptive placement has been identified and approved, the child’s social worker is responsible for ensuring the child is properly prepared for the first meeting with the prospective adoptive family and is appropriately counselled during the period of introductions - see Section 12, Planning the Placement. As part of the preparation of the child for the adoptive placement, information will be provided to ensure that s/he has a proper understanding about the accommodation and others living at the prospective adoptive home, the contact arrangements with the birth family and how to contact his or her social worker;
4. The child’s social worker will encourage the parents to write a ‘Later Life’ letter for the child, and to provide information to enable the social worker to write a ‘Later Life’ letter for the child (to give to the adopters) within 10 working days of adoption ceremony, i.e. the ceremony to celebrate the making of the adoption order. The Later Life letter must be made available to the adoptive family by the time of the child’s second Adoption Review following the adoptive placement. It is a legal requirement that every adopted child has a later life letter before the adoption order is made.


6. Counselling and Support for Parents

  1. The child’s social worker along with the Family Finder must build on the work done with birth parents in the early stages and reiterate to both the reasons for the adoption plan, the key stages of the adoption process, including the likely time-scales. At this stage the focus should be to provide opportunities for parents and other significant people to contribute to the child successfully moving to their adoptive placement;
  2. Independent support must be offered for both birth parents (including unmarried fathers). The support may need to be provided by a specialist worker, for example where the parent has poor mental health or learning disabilities. If so, the social worker should ensure that an appropriate resource is identified;
  3. The specific needs of parents arising from their ethnicity, culture and language must also be taken into account. An interpreter must be arranged where English is not their preferred language;
  4. The purpose of the support is to ensure that the alternatives to adoption have been explored and the implications of adoption fully discussed. The parents must be offered independent support and given the opportunity to express their views in relation to the plans for the child and be involved in planning for the child’s future wherever possible;
  5. Both parents must be offered counselling and support irrespective of whether they have Parental Responsibility unless there are exceptional circumstances, in which case legal advice should be taken and the reasons for not arranging counselling recorded;
  6. It may also be appropriate for members of the extended family to receive counselling or support, where they have played a significant role in the child’s life;
  7. The counselling and support will cover the following areas:
    1. Explaining the key stages of the adoption process and likely time-scales;
    2. Explaining, where appropriate, the procedure for seeking a Placement Order;
    3. Explaining the parents’ legal rights, including to apply for a Contact Order, the right of the unmarried father to seek a Parental Responsibility Order or a Child Arrangements Order in relation to the child;
    4. Explaining the role of the Adoption Panel/Agency Decision Maker;
    5. Explaining the role of CAFCASS in witnessing parental consent to the adoptive placement and advance consent to the adoption and the roles of the Reporting Officer (to witness parental consent in adoption applications) or the Children’s Guardian;
    6. Explaining the way the Adoption Contact Register works and how an adopted adult may seek information about the birth family in the future or may register a wish not to be contacted;
    7. Explaining how prospective adoptive parents are assessed;
    8. Ascertaining the parents’ views on the adoption plan, including the selection of the adoptive family, any specific ethnic, cultural or religious needs of the child, and any plan to separate a sibling group. Their views on the adoptive family should be recorded;
    9. Dealing with grief and loss;
    10. Where the parents consent to the adoptive placement, explaining that they have the right to withdraw their consent at any time up to the adoption application, following which they cannot withdraw consent to the placement and will have to apply for leave of the Court to oppose the adoption application, which will only be granted if there has been a change of circumstances since the consent was given;
    11. Ascertaining the parents’ views on contact after the placement for adoption and after the adoption order has been made including whether they would wish to meet the adoptive family and if so, how they might prepare for this;
    12. Providing information to the parents on national and local support groups, and other possible sources of help;
    13. Explaining how the parents may be able to provide information to be passed to adopters, for example, on the child’s birth and early life, which may be of benefit to the child.
  8. The parents should be encouraged to seek legal advice particularly where they are opposed to the adoption plan;
  9. The parents and their solicitors, if appropriate, must be sent copies of any written consents and/or recording of their views;
  10. Where the parents are seeking to have an expected child adopted, the counselling must start before the baby’s birth. In addition, the child’s social worker must cover practical tasks such as the arrangements for the birth, the parents’ own contact with the child after the birth, the intended length of the mother’s hospital stay and their wishes regarding the timing of the placement. After the child’s birth, the counselling and support must continue. The social worker should then confirm with the parents that they still wish to pursue adoption for the child. If they do, the process for giving consent must be explained including the possibility of signing an agreement to the child’s placement for adoption prior to the child being 6 weeks old, to be confirmed by CAFCASS as soon as the child is 6 weeks old;
  11. The social worker should arrange for photographs to be taken of the child and, if they agree, the parents and other significant people and places, for inclusion in the child’s Life Story Book.


7. Child's Adoption Medical

  1. As soon as adoption becomes preferred plan for the child, the child’s social worker should contact the Medical Adviser requesting an adoption medical for the child. Depending on the specific circumstances of the child, additional tests may be required, the Medical Adviser should be consulted on this and advised on any lifestyle risks (e.g. parental drug misuse);
  2. The procedure needs to be started without delay so that the adoption medical can be arranged; the adoption medical must take place before the child’s plan for adoption is considered at the Adoption Panel and/or by the Agency Decision Maker. The medical should be booked so that it takes place 6 weeks before referral to the Adoption Panel / Agency Decision Maker;
  3. The child’s social worker must seek the cooperation of both birth parents to provide written consent to the disclosure of medical information by completing BAAF Form PH (Parental Health Form), including obtaining their consent to the Medical Adviser approaching their GP if necessary, as well as obtaining their written consent to the obstetric report on the mother and neo-natal report on the child (Forms M and B). A separate BAAF Consent Form should be completed in relation to each parent;
  4. The importance of the disclosure of medical information must be explained to the parents but where the parents refuse to sign consent forms, the social worker must complete as much as possible on the relevant forms, record the attempts made to engage the parents and the reasons for refusal in the child’s file and adoption record, and inform the Medical Adviser of the position;
  5. In cases which are not presented to the Panel for consideration of whether the child is suitable to be placed for adoption (see Section 1, paragraph 1) and expert reports have been filed with the court that are relevant to the child’s health, consideration should be given to whether to seek a specific direction from the court allowing the report to be disclosed to the Medical Adviser for comment;
  6. The child's social worker should then send the Forms B and M (requesting an obstetric report on the mother and neo-natal report on the child) to the Medical Advisers’ Secretary at the Manor Hospital, Walsall with a request that the Form be completed and returned to the Adoption Service for inclusion on the child’s adoption case record with a copy also sent to the social worker. A copy of the consent form completed by parents (or completed by the worker with as much information as possible and a clear explanation of why parents refused to complete it must also be sent together with the Adoption Medical Background Information Form which includes information on the child's past placements and dates, a list of nurseries and/or schools, and a brief social work report) must be provided to the Medical Adviser prior to the adoption medical;
  7. The social worker should get the foster carer for the child to complete the Foster Carer Evaluation Form which looks at the child's behaviour in placement and this should be returned to the social worker and sent to the medical adviser;
  8. The social worker should also send the relevant BAAF Form for completion after the medical (BAAF Form C for children of 5 and under, BAAF Form D for children aged 6 to 10 and BAAF Form YP for children of 11 and above);
  9. A copy of all completed paperwork should be kept on the child's file;
  10. The child's social worker should attend the medical with the child and, depending on the child's age and wishes, the child's foster carer;
  11. The social worker should ensure that the foster carer brings the child's red book (Child Health Record);
  12. If the social worker has any relevant reports such as nursery/school reports or any other reports such as Psychological or Psychiatric (if these are court reports then permission to disclose them must be granted by the court) then they should also take those to the medical;
  13. The information on the child's medical report must be kept up to date if a placement is not immediately forthcoming. This must be done twice yearly for a child aged below 2 and annually for a child of 2 and above. The Medical Adviser may, however, make specific recommendations in relation to particular children. At the stage of matching the Medical Adviser will always reconsider the information available and decide whether a further medical is required.


8. Pre and Post Order Adoption Contact

  1. Contact for the child will be considered at every stage of the adoption process. There is no presumption for or against contact in the legislation and the child’s social worker must undertake a written assessment as to the best interests of the child to support any contact proposals as part of an adoption and any subsequent plan, or reasons why no contact is recommended. Contact arrangements should be focused on and shaped around the child’s needs. This assessment will take account of the views of the child, the parents, the foster carers and any other significant family members, as well as evidence of attachment and the quality of relationships, based on observations of contact and the child’s behaviour before, during and after contact;
  2. Where there is a sibling group, each child must be assessed separately and together as a group;
  3. The assessment should determine whether pre and post order adoption contact between the child and the parents and/or siblings would be in the child’s best interests, and if so, what form it should take. The nature and frequency of contact will be influenced by the need to maintain attachments and/or long-term identity issues;
  4. Adoption contact may take the following forms:
    1. Adoptive parents providing non-identifying information about the child to the birth family through letter-box contact organised and maintained by the adoption agency (one way indirect contact);
    2. Adoptive parents and the birth family sharing non-identifying information about themselves through letter-box contact organised and maintained by the adoption agency (two way indirect contact);
    3. Direct letter box and/or telephone contact between the adoptive parents and the birth family;
    4. Direct face-to-face contact between the child and the birth family, which may be organised and maintained by the adoption agency, where such continuing support is appropriate.
  5. Any proposed adoption contact should be in line with any Court Order made alongside a Placement Order. Once negotiated, it will become the basis of a written agreement, facilitated and supported by the senior practitioner for contact support, who should be involved prior to the agreement being drawn up;
  6. Where adoption contact is considered to be in the child’s interests, it should be part of the information shared with prospective adoptive parents during the matching process – see Section 9, Identification of Adoptive Parents and also part of the planning of the placement – see Section 12, Planning the Placement.


9. Identification of Adoptive Parents

The overall time-scale for matching a child with a prospective adoptive family is:

  • Match to be approved within 6 months of the agency decision that child should be placed for adoption;
  • Where parents request adoption for a child of less than six months of age, match to be approved within 3 months of the agency decision that child should be placed for adoption.

Ethnicity must not be placed above everything else when identifying potential adopters for children.

It is unacceptable for a child to be denied adoptive parents solely on the grounds that the child and prospective adopter do not share the same racial or cultural background.

If a prospective adopter can meet most of the child’s needs, but, for example they do not share the child’s racial or cultural background, the core issue is what qualities, experiences and attributes the prospective adopter can draw on and their level of understanding of the discrimination and racism the child may be confronted with when growing up.

1. Following the identification of the Family Finder family finding will start immediately regardless of the legal status. However, the extent and remit of the family finding activity will depend on the legal position. For example, whilst in-house resources can be considered and general enquiries made of other agencies, children must not be featured in the national press unless there is a Placement Order in place or the court has given permission to advertise the child for the purposes of adoption;
2. The social worker and the family finder will formulate the co-working agreement. This agreement will address:
  1. The preparation of the child’s profile;
  2. To identify any other information about the child which is needed in order to identify a suitable family;
  3. To clarify any other outstanding planning matters and identify what needs to be done, when and by whom;
  4. To consider who should undertake the preparation of the child, and to determine how the child may be involved in and express views about the process of finding a family;
  5. To discuss parental involvement in the placement process (and parental consent to advertising, if applicable, where the child is accommodated) and to agree that the social worker will keep Legal Services informed of developments;
  6. To consider whether or not the child’s current carer would be appropriate as a prospective permanent placement should they wish to be considered (see Paragraph 12 below);
  7. To plan the work of the family finder, which will include consideration to the availability of Walsall approved families prior to any other referrals being made to other agencies.
3. The child’s social worker, current foster carer and the Family Finder will complete the child’s profile, which identifies the child’s needs in relation to a new family, including ethnicity, culture, religion, language, contact with birth family and existing networks, education, health, other special needs and location, and the qualities required in the adoptive family, based on the child’s identified placement needs. At the time of the preparation of the child’s profile workers should indicate which needs are essential and which preferred giving reasons for their decisions;
4. In the first instance the Family Finder will consider any in-house resources available, either approved or soon to be approved families. The Family Finder will be expected to share the child’s profile with the adoption team and consider any Prospective Adopter’s Reports available internally. Where foster carers express an interest in adopting a child placed with them, see paragraph 12 below;
5. Where there are potentially more than one suitable Walsall approved families indicating an interest, the family’s link worker in consultation with the child’s social worker will determine which family seems more likely to be able to meet the needs of the child. In areas of dispute, advice will be sought from the adoption team manager and also the social worker’s team manager. A decision will be made regarding the preferred family who will be visited first with a plan to visit a second if the preferred family are identified as being unable to meet the needs of the child. The family’s link worker will provide the selected family with initial information about the child by telephone or in face-to-face meetings as appropriate. Once the family have signed an undertaking not to disclose any information about children and return any written information they have received on request, they are given the opportunity to read the Child’s Permanence Report. The current carers may be involved as necessary and appropriate. Families should be given the opportunity to obtain a full picture of the child from the time Children’s Services became involved, and clarify and explore the implications of the information they receive. This may mean arranging meetings with significant people who are able to give more in-depth information and will also include a visit from the child’s social worker and family finder to ascertain whether a family can meet the needs of the child. Following the visit the family should be given a short time to decide if they wish to proceed;
6. If a family wish to proceed to a match and the Family Finder and social worker believe the family represent a good match then a Matching Meeting involving the child’s social worker, the social worker’s manager (if appropriate), the foster carers and their supervising social worker and the adoption worker linked to the potential family will be arranged. A team manager/senior practitioner from the adoption service will chair the meeting;
7. The purpose of the meeting is to consider one or more of the available Walsall approved potential families, and select a suitable family on the basis of the evidence of their abilities to meet the child’s needs. The meeting should also consider:
  • The preparation of the child, the present carers and the prospective adopters for the proposed match;
  • The preparation of the birth family and the information to be given;
  • The allocation of preparatory tasks for the introductory work;
  • The proposed contents of the agreement between the agency and the prospective adopters;
  • The designated roles and responsibilities for completing the Adoption Placement Report and Proposed Adoption Support Plan (Form WSS 993);
  • The proposed sharing of Parental Responsibility between the local authority, the birth parents and the adoptive family - see Checklist for Sharing of Parental Responsibility in Adoptive Placements;
  • The updated plans for adoption contact.
8. The child’s social worker and Family Finder will use the information collated at the Matching Meeting for presentation to the Adoption Panel – see paragraph 18 below;
9. The family will be advised of the outcome of the meeting on the same day. The family will be given a copy of the Adoption Placement Report, which asks them to identify why they feel they can meet the needs of the child. Their comments must be invited within 10 working days and made available to Panel;
10. If the family are deemed not able to meet the needs of the child, family finding will re-commence;
11. If it is clear from the outset that there are no approved Walsall approved families available, the child will immediately be referred to the National Adoption Register and Adopt West Midlands Consortium. Arrangements will also be made to feature the child in National Adoption press.
12.

Expressions of interest from foster carers

Where foster carers express an interest in adopting a child they are looking after, the Family Finder will convene a pre-match meeting involving the child’s social worker, his or her team manager and the foster carers’ link worker (with his or her manager where appropriate). The chair of the meeting will be a senior practitioner from the Adoption Team or the Adoption Team Manager. If the outcome of the meeting is that the foster carers appear able to meet the child’s essential needs, an assessment of the foster carers as adopters will proceed, including their attendance at preparation and training groups (see Assessment and Approval of Agency Adoptive Parents).

If they are approved as adopters, the requirements set out in Section 11, Approval of Matching of Adoptive Parents as to the approval of the matching and in Section 13, The Placement as to the provision of information and notification of the placement must be followed. If the evidence shows that the foster carers are not able to meet the child’s essential needs, the recruitment of adopters as set out in the preceding and following paragraphs of this chapter will apply. The foster carers’ link worker will provide support and counselling to the foster carers as appropriate. If the foster carers decide to proceed with an application to adopt the child without the agreement of the agency, the procedure set out in Non-Agency Adoptions will apply;
13.

Inter Agency Placements

Where it is considered that a placement of the child with overseas adopters would be appropriate, see Section 15, Adoptive Placements Abroad;
14. Where recruitment of adopters from another agency has been authorised, the Family Finder will undertake the following:
  • Check that either the parents (for an accommodated child) and/or the Adoption Team Manager have signed the Consent to Publicity Form;
  • Ask the child’s social worker to arrange for professional photographs to be taken of the child for publicity purposes;
  • Agree with the child’s social worker which publications are to be used for publicity purposes, and draw up suitable profiles;
15. Other members of the adoption team as well as the child’s social worker should be made aware of the dates of the publicity and a response to callers should be agreed;
16. Responses from families not yet approved should be dealt with as follows:
  1. Take details of the family and complete a Response Form;
  2. Give limited, anonymised information about the child, in order to help the caller decide whether this is a situation they wish to pursue;
  3. Give general information about the adoption and family finding process, bearing in mind that the caller has not gone through the assessment and preparation process;
  4. Arrange a more appropriate time to hold or continue the discussion, as appropriate;
  5. If, on the basis of the discussions held, it is not considered appropriate, having regard to the needs of the child, to pursue the response, the caller should be advised of the decision, with reasons, and provided with contact details of other agencies which may be of help to them, for example BAAF and Adoption UK;
17. Responses from already approved families should be dealt with as follows:
  1. Take details of the family and complete a Response Form;
  2. Give limited, anonymised information about the child, in order to help the caller decide whether this is a situation they wish to pursue;
  3. Give general information about how the family finding is being conducted, bearing in mind that the family’s own agency may approach this in a different way;
  4. If, on the basis of the discussions held, it is not considered appropriate, having regard to the needs of the child, to pursue the response, the caller should be advised of the decision, with reasons;
  5. If the family is considered potentially suitable, their details and the names of their agency and link worker should be taken. The family should be asked to inform their link worker of their approach to the authority and that the family finder will contact the link worker;
  6. The Family Finder will contact the family’s link worker and share information about the child and the family. Where it is considered that the match is not appropriate, the family’s link worker should be asked to discuss this with the family and the Family Finder need take no further action;
  7. If it is considered that the link should be pursued, the adoptive family’s link worker and the Family Finder should agree to exchange the family’s Prospective Adopter’s Report and the Child’s Permanence Report, with a follow up discussion after the Forms have been read. The family’s link worker will be asked to return a signed undertaking by the potential carers not to disclose any information about the child/ren and return any written information they have received on request, before any identifying information is disclosed to them.

    The Family Finder should also forward to the adoptive family’s link worker financial information about Walsall’s Adoption Support;
  8. The adoptive family’s link worker may wish to visit the family to go through the Child’s Permanence Report, and should be asked to indicate as soon as possible whether or not the family wish to proceed;
  9. If both the placing agency and the family are interested, the family finder will arrange a visit to the family with the child’s social worker;
18.

The procedure outlined in paragraphs 6 to 10 above will then be followed.

Once a suitable match has been identified, (whether with Walsall approved adopters, inter agency or a foster carer approved as an adopter), the child’s social worker, prospective adopters’ link worker and the Family Finder should prepare an Adoption Placement Report and Proposed Adoption Support Plan (Form WSS 993) giving details of the family recommended, evaluating how this family may meet the child’s needs and setting out the proposed adoption support services to be offered to the child, adoptive family and birth family. This will include the support to be provided to the prospective adopters to promote the child’s educational achievements and participation in leisure activities; to help the child develop positive relationships; and to manage any challenging behaviour which the child may display, The support plan will also include arrangements for contact including how to deal with unauthorised or unmediated contact through online social networking sites see Adoption Support Services Procedure

The Adoption Placement Report will also address to what extent the prospective adopters will exercise Parental Responsibility on the placement - see Checklist for Sharing of Parental Responsibility in Adoptive Placements.

N.B. The author(s) of this report must meet the requirements as to qualifications and experience as set out in Adoption Panel Procedure, Reports to Adoption Panel.

The proposed adopters must be given a copy of the Child’s Permanence Report and the Adoption Placement Report and their comments invited within 10 working days. Any such comments should be made available to the Adoption Panel;
19. The child’s social worker, Family Finder, the prospective adopters’ link worker and their respective managers should sign Form WSS 993;
20. The Family Finder should also contact the Panel Coordinator to arrange a date for the Adoption Panel to consider the matching;
21. The child’s social worker will keep the parents and child informed of progress.


10. Temporary Approval as Foster Carers of Approved Prospective Adopters

A person who is approved as a prospective adopter may be given temporary approval as a local authority foster carer for a named Looked After child, where the local authority consider that this is in the child’s best interests.

Before giving such approval, the responsible authority must:

  • Assess the suitability of that person to care for the child as a foster carer; and
  • Consider whether, in all the circumstances and taking into account the services to be provided by the responsible authority, the proposed arrangements will safeguard and promote the child’s welfare and meet the child’s needs as set out in the Care Plan.

The temporary approval period expires when:

  • The placement is terminated by the local authority;
  • The approval as a prospective adopter is terminated;
  • The prospective adopter is approved as a foster carer;
  • The prospective adopter gives 28 days’ written notice that they no longer wish to be temporarily approved as a foster parent in relation to the child; or
  • The child is placed for adoption with the prospective adopter.

11. Approval of Matching of Adoptive Parents

Also see Child Appreciation Days Guidance.

The overall time-scale for matching a child with a prospective adoptive family is:

  • Match to be approved within 6 months of the agency decision that child should be placed for adoption;
  • Where parents request adoption for a child of less than six months of age, match to be approved within 3 months of the agency decision that child should be placed for adoption;
  • Where these timescales are not met, the Adoption Panel should record the reasons.
1. Presentation to the Adoption Panel:

The child’s social worker must present the following reports to the Adoption Panel:

  1. A front sheet stating what is being reported, the reports included, recommendations sought and who will be attending Adoption Panel;
  2. Updated Child’s Permanence Report;
  3. The Panel minute recommending adoption as in the best interests of the child or that the child should be placed for adoption;
  4. An updated Prospective Adopter’s Report on the identified prospective adopters and a recent medical (in the last 2 years);
  5. The Panel minute recommending that the prospective adopters are suitable to adopt;
  6. The Adoption Placement Report and Proposed Adoption Support Plan (WSS 993);
  7. The proposals regarding pre and post order adoption contact;
  8. The views of the adopters on the proposed contact;
  9. The views of the Children’s guardian, if known;
  10. The Adoption and Children Act (2002) requirements monitoring form.
2. The child’s social worker will send the relevant reports to the Panel Coordinator at least 10 days before the date of the Adoption Panel. If reports are submitted outside these timescales it is unlikely that they will be able to be included until the following Panel meeting;
3. Unless reports on the adoption plan and the prospective adopters are being presented at the same time, the Panel Coordinator will arrange for the Panel minutes in relation to the approvals of the adoption plan for the child and, where Walsall approved, the prospective adopters to be circulated to Panel members, with the reports;
4. The child’s social worker, the Family Finder and the prospective adopters’ social worker will attend the Adoption Panel during consideration of the matter. The prospective adoptive family will also be given the opportunity to attend if they wish;
5. The recommendation will be recorded in writing, together with reasons, in the Panel’s minutes, together with any Panel advice on the proposed contact arrangements, the proposed adoption support services and any restrictions on the birth parents’ and prospective adopters’ exercise of parental responsibility. A copy of the relevant minute must be placed on the child’s and the prospective adopters’ (where Walsall approved) Adoption Case Records;
6. The child’s social worker will convey the Panel’s recommendation verbally to the child and the parents within 2 working days;
7. The prospective adopters’ link worker will convey the Panel’s recommendation verbally to the prospective adopters within 2 working days;
8.

After the Adoption Panel

After the Adoption Panel has considered the report and made a written recommendation, this will be sent to the Agency Decision Maker (Adoption) who will make a decision based on the Panel’s recommendation within 7 working days. The decision will be recorded in writing. If minded to disagree with the Panel recommendation, the Agency Decision Maker must discuss the case with a non-Panel senior member of staff and record the discussion on the child’s Adoption Case record;
9. The child’s social worker will convey the decision verbally to the child (depending on age and understanding) and the parents within 2 working days;
10. The prospective adopters’ link worker will convey the decision verbally to the prospective adopters within 2 working days;
11. The Panel Coordinator will prepare written notification of the decision to be signed by the Agency Decision Maker (Adoption) and once signed, pass the letters for the child (depending on age and understanding) and the parents to the child’s social worker for sending within 5 working days. The letter for the parents will include information on accessing independent support. The method of delivery of the letter must be recorded. If the social worker is unable to contact the parents, he or she should deliver the written notification to the parents’ last known address and record this on the child’s file and Adoption Case Record;
12. The Panel Coordinator will send the written notification, signed by the Agency Decision Maker (Adoption), to the prospective adopters’ link worker and the matching certificate for sending to the adopters within 5 working days. The adopters are asked to inform the agency in writing that they are in agreement with the plans for the child in principle. 


12. Planning the Placement

Also see Child Appreciation Days Guidance.

1. Once the matching has been approved, and the legal position allows for the placement to proceed within the near future (i.e. authority to place the child for adoption has been or is about to be obtained), the Family Finder will convene a Placement Planning Meeting for the purpose of confirming the details of the introductions, placement and post-placement work, to be recorded on the Adoption Placement Plan. A team manager/senior practitioner from the adoption service will chair the meeting;
2. N.B. Where the prospective adoptive family is from a different agency, a separate meeting will also be required involving the Adoption Team manager/senior practitioner to complete BAAF Form H1, detailing the contract between the agencies and the adoptive family in relation to the placement;
3.

The purpose of the Placement Planning Meeting is to draw up an Adoption Placement Plan setting out the steps required leading up to the child’s placement with the prospective adopters, including the first meeting between the child and the prospective adoptive family, the programme of and detailed arrangements for their introductions (dates, times, venues, transport and accommodation), where appropriate, a meeting between the parents and the prospective adopters, the proposed date of the placement, who will be present when the placement takes place, whether and to what extent, the exercise parental responsibility by the proposed adopters will be restricted*, including the delegation of decision making to the prospective adopters about the child’s health needs and under what circumstances consent to medical treatment needs to be obtained, the arrangements for the supervision and review of the placement, the transfer of the social worker’s Later Life letter (usually within 10 working days of the adoption ceremony, i.e. the ceremony to celebrate the making of the adoption order), the contact arrangements and who will be responsible for the notifications. The Adoption Placement Plan should include the Adoption Support Plan, including the support to be provided to the prospective adopters to promote the child’s educational achievements and participation in leisure activities; to help the child develop positive relationships; and to manage any challenging behaviour which the child may display.

See Checklist for Sharing of Parental Responsibility in Adoptive Placements.

As part of the preparation of the child for the adoptive placement, information will be provided to ensure that s/he has a proper understanding about the accommodation and others living at the prospective adoptive home, the contact arrangements with the birth family and how to contact his or her social worker;
4. The Family Finder should ensure that the Chair of the Placement Planning Meeting is sent the draft Adoption Placement Plan before the meeting, if possible;
5. Those attending Placement Planning Meetings will be the child’s social worker, his/her manager as appropriate, the foster carers, the foster carers’ link worker, the Family Finder, the prospective adopters and their link worker, and any other relevant professional, in particular those engaged in direct work with the child;
6. The child’s social worker must ascertain the child’s views and report these to the meeting;
7. The child’s first meeting with the prospective adopters should be on the child’s familiar territory (unless the child is older and requests otherwise) and a social worker should be present. The pattern of introductory visits thereafter will depend on the child’s age, needs and stage of development but consideration will be given to a gradual introductory programme involving visits increasing in length, progressing to an overnight stay, a weekend stay and a longer period prior to the final move;
8. The Adoption Placement Plan will also address when the prospective adopters will be supplied with all relevant written information about the child, the form this will take (for example the inclusion of a ‘Later Life letter) and who will provide it (for a full list of information to be supplied - see Section 13, The Placement). At the end of the Placement Planning Meeting all participants will sign the Adoption Placement Plan and copies should be distributed;
9.

The Family Finder will be responsible for coordinating the Placement Planning Meetings. However, all workers involved must be clear about their respective roles and responsibilities in the implementation of the plan, and what should happen in the event of difficulties. Changes to the Adoption Placement Plan can only be made with the agreement of the Family Finder or the Chair of the meeting.

The child’s social worker is expected to be in regular and frequent contact with the child, foster carer and prospective adopter during the period of the introductions and share information with each other also on a regular basis, at the frequency identified at the Placement Planning Meetings.

The Adoption Placement Plan will then be reviewed at an agreed date – see paragraph 11 below. The Plan will identify the named workers and when they will have contact with the child;
10. The child’s social worker will advise the parents of the plan whilst maintaining the confidentiality of the placement.
11.

At the mid-point Placement Planning Review, the following areas will be addressed:

  1. The progress of the Adoption Placement Plan has the necessary action identified at the previous meeting been taken, and the plan been followed - if not, why not;
  2. The views of each participant as to the above;
  3. The identification of the positives;
  4. The identification of any difficulties;
  5. The development of the next stage of the plan;
  6. The finalisation of the arrangements for the placement. The Placement Agreement should include who will be present when the placement takes place, the Adoption Support Plan, the arrangements for the supervision of the placement and any post-placement contact between the child and members of his or her birth family and/or the child and the foster carers, and clarify who will make the necessary notifications of the placement (see Section 13, The Placement.
12. A meeting can be called by any of the parties if issues of concern arise. All Placement Planning Meetings should have the same people invited and take place at a venue accessible to all parties;
13. Where the child is to be adopted by his or her foster carers, there will be no need for a plan for introductions but the social worker should still convene a Planning Meeting, in order to draw up an Adoption Placement Plan to cover the areas as set out above and to specify the date when the placement is to be regarded as an adoptive placement;
14. The Adoption Placement Plan will address any exceptional circumstances under which it may be appropriate to change a child’s name. The Chair’s advice should be sought where this is an issue and the Change of Name Procedure must be followed. See Change of Name of a Looked After Child Procedure;
15. The prospective adopters and the child’s social worker should sign the Adoption Placement Plan and copies should be distributed to them and the prospective adopters’ link worker. A copy must be retained on the child’s Adoption Case Record;
16. Where contact is part of the adoption plan, the proposals must be drawn up in a written agreement to be signed by the birth parents and the prospective adoptive parents by the first Adoption Review. The senior practitioner for adoption contact should be consulted prior to the agreement being finalised. The agreement must specify the form and timing of the contact and the arrangements for putting the contact in place. The agreement must also specify that the arrangements may change dependent upon the wishes of the child. The agreement should also include how the prospective adopters should deal with unauthorised or unmediated contact through online social networking sites. All parties must sign and retain a copy of the agreement;
17. If the Adoption Placement Plan is amended or terminated, the child/birth parents must also be informed;
18. If the Adoption Placement Plan is terminated, the manager of the Adoption Service should consider the best way to conduct a disruption meeting – see Ending (Disruption) of Placement Procedure;
19. In the event of the placement’s termination, direct work will be undertaken with the child to make sense of the reasons why the placement broke down and to prepare the child for any future placement;
20. In this event, the child’s social worker must re-start the process of identifying a suitable prospective adoptive family (depending on the outcome of the Disruption Meeting) or review the plan by reconvening an Adoption Review for the child.


13. The Placement

Also see Child Appreciation Days Guidance.

1. Once the matching of the child has been approved, the plan of introductions of the child to the adoptive family successfully completed and the Adoption Placement Plan drawn up and signed by all parties, the prospective adopters have confirmed their agreement for the placement to proceed and authority to place the child for adoption has been obtained (either through a Placement Order or Parental Consent), the placement can go ahead. A social worker must be present when the placement takes place;
2. Prior to the placement, the child’s social worker must assure themselves that all the following written information about the child has been provided to the adopters, with a copy to the child (depending on the child’s age and understanding),as previously agreed within the Adoption Placement Plan:
  1. Updated Child’s Permanence Report;
  2. Description (possibly with genogram) of the family of origin and the household;
  3. Medical information including birth details (time, place, weight, term, type of delivery, with Forms M and B), Form C (if child under 5) or Form D (if child 5 or older) and any medical reports on the child;
  4. Agreement about the exercise of Parental Responsibility by the prospective adopters or the parameters for where the local authority should be consulted first - see Checklist for Sharing of Parental Responsibility in Adoptive Placements;
  5. The child’s ’Red Book’ and NHS Card;
  6. A ‘Later in Life’ letter from the birth parent, if possible;
  7. The child’s passport (if applicable);
  8. Carers’ report including the child’s daily routine, likes and dislikes, advice on behaviour management and factors indicating distress and the ‘All About Me’ document;
  9. Health report (prepared for Adoption Panel);
  10. Current school reports and PEP;
  11. Any letters, photographs or mementos from the birth family, and the Life Story Book;
  12. The child’s profile for home-finding;
  13. Details of siblings and the reasons for any decisions made to place the child separately;
  14. A written plan of the contact arrangements pre and post adoption with the birth parents and any previous carers;
  15. A Statement of Particulars of financial support where applicable;
  16. A Leaflet on Benefits and Tax (if applicable);
  17. The Adoption Support Plan, including a named post-adoption social worker;
  18. The Adoption Placement Plan including arrangements for support and visits by the child’s social worker and their own social worker;
  19. Confirmation of any agreement to pay the adopters’ legal expenses;
  20. Any other relevant information, including specialist reports (subject to the author’s consent).
3. The prospective adopters should be asked to sign confirmation of receipt. Where the information is provided at different times, the prospective adopters must sign and date confirmation of receipt on each occasion;
4. Also, prior to the placement, the Family Finder must notify the present and new GP, the local Children’s Services Department (where the adoptive family live outside the authority), the relevant Health Trust and, if the child is at nursery or of school age, the relevant local education authority. These notifications are still required where the prospective adopters were previously the child’s foster carers. The local Children’s Services Department where the adopters reside must also be furnished with a copy of the Adoption Support Plan;
5. The Medical Adviser should be requested to send a medical report on the child to the child’s new GP and the adopters;
6. Where the child’s foster carers are the prospective adopters, the foster carers’ link worker must confirm in writing to them the date from which the placement becomes an adoptive placement;
7. The child’s social worker must inform the parents of the date of the placement in all cases;
8. The child’s social worker must inform the information section of the change of placement status for the child. He or she should ensure that the computer record system does not show the placement address but identifies that the child is placed for adoption;
9. The Family Finder or – where the family is approved by Walsall – the family’s link worker will inform the Panel Coordinator of the date of the placement as soon as it is made and inform the Finance Department, where the Adoption Support Plan includes financial support. The child’s social worker must advise the Finance Department of the placement to ensure that the payment of fostering allowances ceases.


14. Children Approved for Adoption for Whom no Placement has been Identified

Each individual child will be the subject of regular progress meetings - see Section 9, Identification of Adoptive Parents.

  1. Where authority to place a child for adoption has been obtained (through a Placement Order or parental consent) and no placement made, an initial Adoption Review must take place within 3 months of the authority to place being obtained and thereafter every 6 months. At the 2nd review, which will be 9 months following the making of a Placement Order, the agency must consider whether the adoption plan is still appropriate and whether the Placement Order should be revoked. The outcome of this review must be reported to the Adoption Panel through the Professional Adviser. These reviews must be chaired by an Independent Reviewing Officer. From the point when authority to place a child for adoption is obtained, the requirement to review the child’s case changes from the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010 (Looked After Reviews) and transfers to Adoption Reviews under the Adoption Agencies Regulations 2005. There is no requirement to invite birth parents to Adoption Reviews although it may in certain cases be appropriate to do so in which case this can happen. See Review of Adoptive Placements Procedure;
  2. The Adoption Panel may request an earlier progress report on an individual case when first considering the child;
  3. The child's details should be passed to the Adoption Register if no locally identified match is being actively pursued immediately after the decision by the Agency Decision Maker (Adoption) that the child should be placed for adoption, and, in any event, at the latest by 3 months.


15. Adoptive Placements Abroad

Where an adoptive placement outside the UK appears to be a viable option, and consultation with the child (if old enough) supports this, the proposal must be considered at a child’s Looked After Review before becoming part of the child’s Care Plan.

The child may be considered for an adoptive placement with known prospective adopters in which case it will be for the adoption agency to satisfy itself that the prospective adopters are suitable to adopt the child. Otherwise, the child may be referred to the Department for Education for a suitable matching to be identified, (see below).

In either circumstance, the case must be referred to the Adoption Panel for consideration and the child’s social worker should consult with Legal Services about the legal process to be followed.

Where no Prospective Adopters Have Been Identified

The child’s social worker should present the Child’s Permanence Report to the Adoption Panel seeking a formal recommendation that the child should be placed for adoption outside the UK. Where Panel make this recommendation, the Agency Decision Maker should decide whether this option can be formally pursued and a decision should be made whether to pursue a Placement Order.

Where such a decision is made, the child’s social worker must notify the Department for Education of the following:

  1. The child’s file reference number;
  2. The child’s name;
  3. The child’s date of birth;
  4. The gender of the child;
  5. The reasons why the decision has been made that adoption outside the UK may be suitable for the child;
  6. The date of the Placement Order.

The Department for Education maintains a list of children waiting for inter country adoption.

If a decision is made after the child’s name is placed on the list that an overseas adoptive placement is no longer appropriate, the child’s social worker must inform the Department for Education so that the child’s details are removed from the list.

Where the Department for Education receive an application from a foreign country, it will check that the prospective adopters have been assessed as eligible and suitable, and that they meet the requirements of UK law, and if so, consider whether there are children of the age and gender to match the prospective adopters’ approval. Where there are children on the list who appear, on the face of it, to match the prospective adopters, the Department for Education will send the relevant papers on the prospective adopters to the local authority looking after the child.

Upon receipt of the papers, the child’s social worker in conjunction with the adoption service, will consider whether the prospective adopters would meet the child’s needs. Where necessary, additional information should be requested from the overseas authority via the Department for Education.

Where it is decided that the prospective adopters are not suitable, the Department for Education should be notified and the papers returned.

Where it is decided that the prospective adopters are suitable, the Department for Education should be notified and the proposed match referred to the Adoption Panel for consideration in accordance with the usual procedure. Included in the papers to be presented to the Adoption Panel must be the report on the prospective adopters by the foreign authority.

The child’s social worker must notify the Department for Education of the decision made.

Where the decision is to proceed with the placement, the child’s social worker must send the Child’s Permanence Report, together with the Placement Order and a recent photograph of the child, to the Department for Education for onward transmission to the overseas authority and the prospective adopters.

Where the prospective adopters decide to go ahead with the placement, they will be required to travel to meet the child.

The prospective adopters will need to seek independent legal advice about the need to apply for a Convention Adoption Order in the UK (which will require the child to be with the adopters for at least 6 months) or an Order from the High Court granting them parental responsibility to take the child outside the UK for the purposes of adoption (which will require the child to be with the adopters for at least 10 weeks before an application can be made). 

Placement Planning Meetings should be convened in accordance with the usual placement procedures to plan the prospective adopters’ first meeting with the child, introductions and where the placement goes ahead, the monitoring of the placement both in the UK and abroad. Regular reports should be required from the relevant overseas authority after the placement.

If the prospective adopters still wish to go ahead and the Placement Planning Meeting confirms that the placement meets the child’s needs, the child’s social worker must inform the Department for Education, who will contact the overseas authority to confirm that they are content for the placement to go ahead and that the child will be permitted to enter and reside permanently. In these circumstances, the Department for Education will enter the necessary agreement with the overseas authority.

The child’s social worker can then arrange for the placement to go ahead.

When the prospective adopters apply to the Court for a Convention Adoption Order or a Section 84 Order, the Court will request a report from the adoption agency – see Court Reports in Adoption/Special Guardianship Guidance for a list of the required contents of the report.

The prospective adopters will need to arrange for the foreign authority to monitor the placement as required by the Adoption Placement Plan. 

Where Prospective Adopters Have Been Identified

It will be for the adoption service to satisfy itself that the prospective adopters are suitable to adopt the child. The assessment should usually be carried out in the prospective adopters’ country and then sent to the adoption agency in the same way as for any other prospective adopter.

Placement Planning Meetings should be convened in accordance with the usual placement procedures to plan the prospective adopters’ first meeting with the child, introductions and where the placement goes ahead, the monitoring of the placement both in the UK and abroad. Regular reports should be required from the relevant overseas authority after the placement.

The prospective adopters will need to seek independent legal advice about the need to apply for a Section 84 Order from the High Court granting them parental responsibility to take the child outside the UK for the purposes of adoption. 

When the prospective adopters apply to the Court for a Section 84 Order, the Court will request a report from the adoption agency - see Court Reports in Adoption/Special Guardianship Guidance for a list of the required contents of the report.

The child’s social worker will need to arrange for the foreign authority to monitor the placement as required by the Adoption Placement Plan. 


Appendix 1: Adoption Consultation Process Part A

As a consequence of the changes to adoption agency regulations and guidance, it is now necessary to prioritise adoption care planning for children in a different format. The removal of the requirement to consider children at adoption panels now requires us to further utilise the critical role of the IRO in effective care planning.

Replacing the permanency planning process and meetings will now be a streamlined process which will be as follows:

  • LAC review which ratifies adoption as the primary plan or part of a parallel plan; IRO will be required as part of the review to complete the form which can be accessed below;
  • Within five working days the completed form will be sent to Vanessa Palmer Adoption Panel Administrator who will enter the child’s details on our adoption tracking list;
  • The case will then be passed over to Lisa Preston, who will arrange an adoption consultation with the allocated social worker within 10 working days;
  • Adoption care planning will then commence and the Adoption Case Record will be opened.

Click here to view Early Notification of Adoption Care Plan form.


Appendix 2: Adoption Consultation Process Part B

Click here to view Adoption Consultation Process Part B.


Appendix 3: Adoption Planning For Children Flowchart

Click here to view the Adoption Planning For Children Flowchart.

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