3.9.6 Review of Adoptive Placements

AMENDMENT

Section 1, Arrangements for Adoption Reviews and Section 5, The Conduct of Adoption Reviews of this chapter were amended in October 2011 to reflect the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations, 2010, and the Adoption Guidance published in March 2011, both of which became effective from 1 April 2011. In particular there is now a requirement to continue to hold Looked After Reviews alongside Adoption Reviews after Authority to Place for Adoption has been obtained until the child is actually placed for adoption.

This chapter was further amended in May 2012, to include the timing of the Later in Life letter (please see 5.1.k).


Contents

  1. Arrangements for Adoption Reviews
  2. Convening and Chairing Adoption Reviews
  3. Timescales for Adoption Reviews
  4. Reports for Adoption Reviews
  5. The Conduct of Adoption Reviews
  6. After an Adoption Order is Made


1. Arrangements for Adoption Reviews

Once an adoption agency has authority to place a child for adoption (i.e. through a Placement Order or Parental Consent to the placement having been witnessed by a CAFCASS officer), there is a requirement to review the child’s case under the Adoption Agencies Regulations 2005. Until the child is placed for adoption, this runs alongside the requirement to hold a Looked After in relation to the child - see Looked After Review Procedure.

The child’s social worker should provide written information about the intended arrangements for Adoption Reviews, to the child (depending on age and understanding), to the prospective adopters (usually this will be part of the Adoption Placement Plan), and to any other person considered relevant, such as the child’s parents.


2. Convening and Chairing Adoption Reviews

So far as reasonably practicable, all Adoption Reviews will be chaired by the child’s Independent Reviewing Officer.

The child’s social worker, in conjunction with the Independent Reviewing Officer, will invite relevant persons to Adoption Reviews, including a representative of the Permanence Support Team. There is no requirement to invite birth parents to Adoption Reviews or to consult them prior to a Review, but the child’s social worker, in conjunction with the Independent Reviewing Officer, may consider that their views should be ascertained and reported to an Adoption Review or that the parents should be invited in appropriate cases.


3. Timescales for Adoption Reviews

The timescales for holding Adoption Reviews will depend on whether the child has been placed for adoption.

3.1 Adoption Reviews of Children not yet Placed for Adoption

Where the child has not been placed for adoption, arrangements must be made so that an Adoption Review is held:

  • No later than 3 months after authority to place the child for adoption has been obtained;
  • At least every 6 months thereafter until an adoptive placement is made.

3.2 Adoption Reviews of Children who Have Been Placed for Adoption

Where the child has been placed for adoption, arrangements must be made so that an Adoption Review is held:

  • Within 4 weeks of the placement;
  • Not more than 3 months after the first review unless an application for an adoption order has been made;
  • At least every 6 months thereafter until an adoption order has been made or the adoptive placement ends.

Where there are concerns that the placement is at risk of breaking down, an Adoption Review must be convened immediately. Where placements break down, see Disruption of Placements Procedure.

Where a placement has been made with Parental Consent and notice is received that such consent has been withdrawn, a Review must be convened immediately and urgent legal advice should be taken as to whether an application should be made for a Placement Order.

Unless there are exceptional circumstances, for example child protection concerns and/or significant risk, no decision to move a child from a placement shall take place without a formal review having taken place. In such circumstances, legal advice should be sought as soon as possible and prior to any action being taken. 

3.3 All Cases

The child’s social worker must inform the Independent Reviewing Officer of any failure to make arrangements agreed at a review or any significant changes in the child’s circumstances at a review, so that a decision can be made as to the need to convene a further Review - see Independent Reviewing Officers Guidance.


4. Reports for Adoption Reviews

The child’s social worker will prepare a report for the Adoption Review, incorporating the views of the child, the prospective adopters and the prospective adopters’ link worker (where the child is placed), the birth parents or family members (in appropriate cases) and any other relevant person (for example health visitor or teacher), which should be circulated prior to the meeting.


5. Conduct of Adoption Reviews

5.1 The Adoption Review will consider the following areas:
  1. Whether the review remains satisfied that the child should be placed for adoption;
  2. The child’s needs, welfare and development, and whether any changes need to be made to meet the child’s needs or assist his/her development;
  3. Review the existing arrangements for contact and whether they should continue or be altered;

  4. Where the child has been placed for adoption, the arrangements in relation to the exercise of Parental Responsibility for the child and whether they should continue or be altered;
  5. Where the child has been placed for adoption, the Adoption Support Plan and whether there should be any re-assessment of the need for adoption support services;
  6. In consultation with the appropriate agencies, the arrangements for assessing and meeting the child’s health care and educational needs;
  7. Any concerns;
  8. Outstanding Court proceedings;
  9. Where the child is placed for adoption, the timing of the adoption application;
  10. The timing of the ‘Later in Life Letter’ from the social worker being given to the child (this will usually be within 10 working days of the adoption ceremony, i.e. the ceremony to celebrate the making of the adoption order);
  11. The responsibility for providing Court reports;
  12. The frequency of future reviews and the date for the next Adoption Review.
5.2 Where the child is the subject of a Placement Order and has not been placed for adoption by the time of the first six month Review, the Review must also: 
  • Establish why the child has not been placed for adoption and consider what further steps it should take to arrange for the child to be placed for adoption; and
  • Consider whether it remains satisfied that the child should be placed for adoption.
5.3

The Independent Reviewing Officer must ensure that the views of the child are properly understood by the Review and taken into account.

Where the child wishes to take proceedings on his/her own account, for example to apply for the revocation of a Placement Order, the Independent Reviewing Officer must assist the child to obtain legal advice or establish whether an appropriate adult is able and willing to provide legal advice and/or bring the proceedings on the child’s behalf. The IRO should advise the child about his or her right to appoint an advocate where they have problems or concerns.

5.4 The Independent Reviewing Officer must also ensure that anyone responsible for implementing a decision taken at the review is identified, and that any failure to review the case or implement decisions made at a Review is brought to the attention of senior managers within the agency.
5.5 Any decisions made at the Review should be notified in writing to the child (depending on age and understanding), the prospective adopters (where the child has been placed for adoption) and any other person considered relevant by the child’s social worker and the Independent Reviewing Officer, such as the birth parents.
5.6 The information obtained during an Adoption Review, any decisions made at the Review and the minutes of any meeting arranged to consider any aspect of the Adoption Review must be placed on the child’s Adoption Case Record.
5.7 Where a child has been placed for adoption but not adopted within 12 months, the child’s social worker must present a further report to the Adoption Panel identifying the length of the delay, the reasons and the steps being taken to address any difficulties.
5.8 Where a decision has been made to place a child for adoption but the child has not been placed within 6 months, the child’s social worker must report to the Adoption Panel identifying the length of the delay, the reasons and the steps being taken to address any difficulties, including consideration of a review of the adoption plan and/or a possible change to long-term fostering/separation of siblings.


6. After an Adoption Order is Made

Once the Adoption Order is made, the child’s Adoption Case Record should be closed and sent to the adoption service for safe storage within 2 months of the Adoption Order being granted. The social worker should complete the ‘Adoption Case Record Checklist’ to ensure that the necessary work has been undertaken to complete the adoption process. 

The computer recording system should also record the Adoption.

1. Arrangements for the review of adoption placements must be made so that a review is held:
  • Within 4 weeks of the placement;
  • Not more than 3 months after the first review unless an application for an adoption order has been made;
  • At least every 6 months thereafter until an adoption order has been made.
2. The Adoption Review, including a review of the Adoption Support Plan, will be merged with the child’s Looked After Review, and the procedures for convening and chairing the review contained in Looked After Reviews Procedure should be followed. The child’s social worker should ensure that all relevant parties, including appropriate members of the Permanent Support Team, are invited. N.B. There is no requirement to invite the birth parents to attend.
3. Where there are concerns that the placement is at risk of breaking down, a review meeting must be convened immediately. Unless there are exceptional circumstances, for example child protection concerns and/or significant risk, no decision to move a child from a placement shall take place without a formal review having taken place. In such circumstances, legal advice should be sought as soon as possible and prior to any action being taken. The child’s social worker should also alert the Independent Reviewing Officer of the likely need for an urgent review meeting.
4. The child’s social worker will prepare a report for the review, incorporating the views of the child, the prospective adopters, the prospective adopters’ link worker and any other relevant person, which should be circulated prior to the meeting.
5. The review will consider and evaluate the adoption placement in terms of meeting the child’s needs and the objectives set at each review and in particular consider the following areas:
  1. The child’s Health Care Plan (including arrangements for the child’s medical and dental care);
  2. The child’s educational progress;
  3. Any regression in the child’s development since the placement;
  4. Evidence of the child’s attachment to the prospective adopters;
  5. Observations of any grieving process in relation to the previous carers;
  6. Any direct work being undertaken or required;
  7. Any concerns;
  8. The Adoption Support Plan;
  9. Any future support needs;
  10. Post-adoption contact arrangements – how they will be facilitated including completion of the formal contact arrangements at the first review;
  11. Outstanding Court proceedings;
  12. The timing of the adoption application;
  13. The timing of the ‘Later in Life Letter’ from the social worker being given to the child (prior to the Adoption Order);
  14. Responsibility for providing Court reports;
  15. Date for next review.
6. The outcome of the review should be recorded and sent to the child (depending on age) and the prospective adopters. Unless there is a Freeing Order, the birth parents should receive an anonymised summary of the review’s outcomes.
7. Once the Adoption Order is made, the child’s Adoption Case Record should be closed and sent to the adoption service for safe storage within 2 months of the Adoption Order being granted. The social worker should complete the ‘Adoption Case Record Checklist’ to ensure that the necessary work has been undertaken to complete the adoption process. 

The computer recording system should also record the Adoption Order.

End