Adoption is a life-long commitment. Whilst there will be challenges involved in becoming a parent, there are also huge rewards. Children going through the court process do so at a variable rate, some go very quickly, others not so. This can mean that some children spend longer than we would like waiting for the final decisions to be made. That said, many judges across the UK are looking to speed up the process, particularly for younger children so that they can move to their new permanent families as soon as possible. This was one of the reasons that Fostering to Adopt was developed.
The assessment process is an exchange of information between you and Families for Children. This is to ensure that you are able to meet the needs of a child who has had a difficult start in life and to give you full preparation for what adoption entails and how your life will change.
Families for Children complete the assessment with sensitivity and give you personal support throughout the process, also during matching and placement with your child. We aim to assess you within a timescale of 6 months, in line with government guidance.
If you are considering adoption please contact us on 01364 645480 and we will be pleased to discuss any questions you may have. We will take some details about you and your family and advise you about the next step.
You can also download our information pack and make a request we contact you.
If you would like to have more information and a discussion about whether adoption is right for you, we will arrange a home visit to talk through your particular circumstances or pop along to one of our Information Sessions . This is a great opportunity to ask as many questions as you like (the more the better!) to fully explore all the challenges and opportunities. If you decide you would like to proceed with Families For Children, and the Social Worker feels it is right for you, you can complete a Registration of Interest Form and submit it to us. We will give you a response in 5 days as to whether we will accept it.
If you would like to proceed with adoption we will visit you in your home to talk through your personal circumstances. With the Social Worker you can then decide to “register your interest” in adopting. This involves completing a form. After you have sent it in our Agency has 5 days to decide whether to accept it.
The 2 Stage Process
Stage 1 – Led by you
When your Registration of Interest is accepted a social worker will be allocated to you. There is a 2 month period during which:
- References and checks are taken up by the Agency.
- You attend a one day training course.
- You provide some written information and undertake learning about adoption.
At the end of Stage 1 your social worker will visit you to review your assessment so far. With the Agency’s agreement you can then proceed to Stage 2. You can choose to delay moving to Stage 2 for up to 6 months. If we are unable to support you moving into Stage 2 we will give you clear written reasons.
Stage 2 – Social Worker led
Stage 2 is the more intensive part of the assessment, which will normally be completed in 4 months. Your social worker will make an agreement with you with dates for home visits and mutual expectations. During Stage 2 as part of your assessment you will receive further training.
When the assessment is complete your Social Worker will prepare your Prospective Adopters Report (PAR). This report will be shared with you and you can add your comments prior to attending Panel with your social worker.
The Adoption Panel will consider the report and will raise any questions with your social worker before they make a recommendation. You will be invited to attend the Panel and contribute to part of the discussion.
The Adoption Panel recommends whether to approve you to adopt. The Agency Decision Maker will decide whether to formally approve you as Adoptive Parent(s) within a week of the Panel’s recommendation.
Matching you with your child
Towards the end of the assessment, the family finding process starts and we will work closely with you to achieve the best match for you as a family.
During the matching process we ensure that you have all the information that you need about the child or sibling group. You will attend the Local Authority Matching Panel for the match to be approved. Once the match is approved there are gradual introductions to your child which often take 10 days – 2 weeks. This leads to the child being placed with you – your new family life begins!
You share the Parental Responsibility with the Local Authority until the Adoption Order is made, usually within a few months when your child has settled with you.
Once a child is settled you will apply to the Court to obtain an Adoption Order. There may often be an agreement to send regular updates about the child to the birth family, confidentially, via the child’s Local Authority. Information may be sent by the birth family in return, again via the Local Authority. On-going advice and support will be available at any time in the future.
Birth family contact is usually indirect via regular updates unless the Court has made specific arrangements for more direct contact for example, where siblings are placed separately.