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8.17 Court Reports in Adoption (Placement Orders and Adoption Orders)

AMENDMENT

This chapter was substantially revised in March 2014 and should be re-read in full.


Contents

  1. Who may write the Reports
  2. Confidentiality and Information Validity
  3. Placement Order Applications
  4. Adoption Applications - Annex A Report - Matters to be Dealt with in Reports for the Court

    CSF Application to Adopt a Child

    Adoption Court Report Form

    Placement Order Application report


1. Who may write the Reports

The criteria are set out in in Agency Decision Maker (ADM) - Role and Process of Adoption Panel and Agency Decision Maker's Decision Procedure regarding reports to Adoption Panel, also apply to writing of Adoption Application Report form.


2. Confidentiality and Information Validity

Parts of the report are likely to be shared with all parties. Any identifying information regarding the prospective adopters e.g. addresses, employment or child’s school must be omitted or included in a separate section. Start each section of the reports on a new page to enable this.

If a proposed adopter, or a member of their household has been convicted or cautioned for an offence and the partner/household member is unaware of it, the local authority is not permitted to share this with the prospective adopter. It may be suggested that the partner/household member informs the prospective adopter as the court will be informed. In such circumstances information will be submitted on a separate sheet. The court will usually then direct that this is shared with the prospective adopter.

In reports for Non-Agency adoption applications information given by the prospective adopters about themselves must be checked through formal methods and with the birth parent and wider members of the family.

Proposed adopters should provide evidence to support information about income, household tenancy or ownership and any mortgage.


3. Placement Order Applications

Section A: The Report and Matters for the Proceedings
Section B: The Child and the Birth Family
Section C: Recommendations


Section A: The Report and Matters for the Proceedings

Part 1: The Report, which should usually be submitted at the same time as the Application, and draw on information from the updated Child Permanence Report

For each of the principal author/s of the report:

  1. Name;
  2. Role in relation to this case;
  3. Section completed in this report;
  4. Qualifications and experience;
  5. Name and address of the adoption agency; and
  6. Adoption agency case reference number.

Part 2: Matters for the Proceedings

  1. Whether the adoption agency considers that any other person should be made a respondent or a party to the proceedings;
  2. Whether any of the respondents is under the age of 18;
  3. Whether a respondent is a person who, by reason of mental disorder within the meaning of the Mental Health Act 1983, is incapable of managing and administering his or her property and affairs. If so, medical evidence should be provided with particular regard to the effect on that person's ability to make decisions in the proceedings.

Section B: The Child and the Birth Family

Part 1

i. Information about the Child

a. Name, sex, date and place of birth and address including local authority area;
b. Photograph and physical description;
c. Nationality;
d. Racial origin and cultural and linguistic background;
e. Religious persuasion (including details of baptism, confirmation or equivalent ceremonies);
f. Details of any siblings, half-siblings and step-siblings, including dates of birth;
g. Whether the child is looked after by a local authority;
h. Personality and social development, including emotional and behavioural development and any related needs;
i. Details of interests, likes and dislikes;
j. A summary, written by the agency's medical adviser, of the child's health history, his current state of health and any need for health care which is anticipated, and date of the most recent medical examination;
k. Any known learning difficulties or known general medical or mental health factors which are likely to have, or may have, genetic implications;
l. Names, addresses and types of nurseries or schools attended, with dates;
m. Educational attainments;
n. Any special needs in relation to the child (whether physical, learning, behavioural or any other) and his emotional and behavioural development;
o. Whether the child is subject to a statement under the Education Act 1996;
p. Previous orders concerning the child:
  1. The name of the court;
  2. The order made; and
  3. The date of the order.
q. Inheritance rights and any claim to damages under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 the child stands to retain or lose if adopted;
r. Any other relevant information which might assist the court.

ii. Information about each Parent of the Child

a. Name, date and place of birth and address (date on which last address was confirmed current) including local authority area;
b. Photograph, if available, and physical description;
c. Nationality;
d. Racial origin and cultural and linguistic background;
e. Whether the mother and father were married to each other at the time of the child's birth, or have subsequently married;
f. Where the parent has been previously married or entered into a civil partnership, dates of those marriages or civil partnerships;
g. Where the mother and father are not married, whether the father has parental responsibility and, if so, how it was acquired;
h. If the identity or whereabouts of the father are not known, the information about him that has been ascertained and from whom, and the steps that have been taken to establish paternity;
i. Past and present relationship with the other parent;
j.

Other information about the parent, where available:

  1. Health, including any known learning difficulties or known general medical or mental health factors which are likely to have, or may have, genetic implications;
  2. Religious persuasion;
  3. Educational history;
  4. Employment history; and
  5. Personality and interests.
k. Any other relevant information which might assist the court.

Part 2: Relationships, contact arrangements and views

The Child

  1. If the child is in the care of a local authority or voluntary organisation, or has been, details (including dates) of any placements with foster parents, or other arrangements in respect of the care of the child, including particulars of the persons with whom the child has had his home and observations on the care provided;
  2. The child's wishes and feelings (if appropriate, having regard to the child's age and understanding) about the application, its consequences, and adoption, including any wishes in respect of religious and cultural upbringing;
  3. The child's wishes and feelings in relation to contact (if appropriate, having regard to the child's age and understanding);
  4. The child's wishes and feelings recorded in any other proceedings;
  5. Date when the child's views were last ascertained.

The Child's Parents (or guardian) and relatives

a. The parents' wishes and feelings about the application, its consequences, and adoption, including any wishes in respect of the child's religious and cultural upbringing;
b. Each parent's (or guardian's) wishes and feelings in relation to contact;
c. Date/s when the views of each parent or guardian were last ascertained;
d.

Arrangements concerning any siblings, including half-siblings and step-siblings, and whether any are the subject of a parallel application or have been the subject of any orders. If so, for each case give:

  1. The name of the court;
  2. The order made, or (if proceedings are pending) the order applied for; and
  3. The date of order, or date of next hearing if proceedings are pending.
e. Extent of contact with the child's mother and father and in each case the nature of the relationship enjoyed;
f. The relationship which the child has with relatives, and with any other person considered relevant, including:
  1. The likelihood of any such relationship continuing and the value to the child of its doing so; and
  2. The ability and willingness of any of the child's relatives, or of any such person, to provide the child with a secure environment in which the child can develop, and otherwise to meet the child's needs.
g. The wishes and feelings of any of the child's relatives, or of any such person, regarding the child;
h. Dates when the views of members of the child's wider family and any other relevant person were last ascertained.

Part 3: Summary of the actions of the adoption agency

  1. Brief account of the Agency's actions in the case, with particulars and dates of all written information and notices given to the child and his parents and any person with parental responsibility;
  2. If consent has been given for the child to be placed for adoption, and also consent for the child to be adopted, the names of those who gave consent and the date such consents were given. If such consents were subsequently withdrawn, the dates of these withdrawals;
  3. If any statement has been made under section 20(4)(a) of the 2002 Act that a parent or guardian does not wish to be informed of any application for an adoption order, the names of those who have made such statements and the dates the statements were made. If such statements were subsequently withdrawn, the dates of these withdrawals;
  4. Details of the support and advice given to the parents and any services offered or taken up;
  5. The agency will need to have considered whether it belies that the arrangements for contact that it proposes can be implemented without the need for an order, and, if so, explain why. It may be difficult to be precise about the contact arrangements once the child is placed. But need to be clear what sort of future contact and which whom, the agency believes is important for the child’s welfare and how crucial a factor this will be in identifying a suitable prospective adopter for the child;
  6. If the father does not have parental responsibility, details of the steps taken to inform him of the application for a placement order;
  7. Brief details and dates of assessments of the child's needs, including expert opinions;
  8. Reasons for considering that adoption would be in the child's best interests (with date of relevant decision and reasons for any delay in implementing the decision).

Section C: Recommendations

  1. The relative merits of a placement order and other orders (such as a Child Arrangements or special guardianship order) with an assessment of why the child's long term interests are likely to be best met by a placement order rather than by any other order;
  2. Recommendations as to whether there should be future contact arrangements (or not), including whether a Child Arrangements Order should be made.


4. Adoption Applications - Annex A Report - Matters to be Dealt with in Reports for the Court

Please see also Placement of Adoption - Part Two - Matching and Placing Procedure

After Placement, Monitor, review and supporting application for Adoption Order

Section A: The Report and Matters for the Proceedings
Section B: The Child and the Birth Family
Section C: The Prospective Adopter of the Child
Section D: The Placement 
Section E: Recommendations 


Section A: The Report and Matters for the Proceedings

Part 1 - The Report

For each of the principal author/s of the report:

  1. Name;
  2. Role in relation to this case;
  3. Sections completed in this report;
  4. Qualifications and experience;
  5. Name and address of the adoption agency; and
  6. Adoption agency case reference number.

Part 2 - Matters for the Proceedings

  1. Whether the adoption agency considers that any other person should be made a respondent or a party to the proceedings, including the child;
  2. Whether any of the respondents is under the age of 18;
  3. Whether a respondent is a person who, by reason of mental disorder within the meaning of the Mental Health Act 1983, is incapable of managing and administering his or her property and affairs. If so, medical evidence should be provided with particular regard to the effect on that person's ability to make decisions in the proceedings.

Section B: The Child and the Birth Family

Part 1

i. Information about the Child

a. Name, sex, date and place of birth and address including local authority area;
b. Photograph and physical description;
c. Nationality;
d. Racial origin and cultural and linguistic background;
e. Religious persuasion (including details of baptism, confirmation or equivalent ceremonies);
f. Details of any siblings, half-siblings and step-siblings, including dates of birth;
g. Whether the child is looked after by a local authority;
h. Whether the child has been placed for adoption with the prospective adopter by a UK adoption agency;
i. Whether the child was being fostered by the prospective adopter;
j. Whether the child was brought into the UK for adoption, including date of entry and whether an adoption order was made in the child's country of origin;
k. Personality and social development, including emotional and behavioural development and any related needs;
l. Details of interests, likes and dislikes;
m. A summary, written by the agency's medical adviser, of the child's health history, his current state of health and any need for health care which is anticipated, and date of the most recent medical examination;
n. Any known learning difficulties or known general medical or mental health factors which are likely to have, or may have, genetic implications.
o. Names, addresses and types of nurseries or schools attended, with dates;
p. Educational attainments;
q. Any special needs in relation to the child (whether physical, learning, behavioural or any other) and his emotional and behavioural development;
r. Whether the child is subject to a statement under the Education Act 1996;
s. Previous orders concerning the child:
  1. The name of the court;
  2. The order made; and
  3. The date of the order.
t. Inheritance rights and any claim to damages under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 the child stands to retain or lose if adopted;
u. Any other relevant information which might assist the court.

ii. Information about each Parent of the Child

a. Name, date and place of birth and address (date on which last address was confirmed current) including local authority area;
b. Photograph, if available, and physical description;
c. Nationality;
d. Racial origin and cultural and linguistic background;
e. Whether the mother and father were married to each other at the time of the child's birth or have subsequently married;
f. Where the parent has been previously married or entered into a civil partnership, dates of those marriages or civil partnerships;
g. Where the mother and father are not married, whether the father has parental responsibility and, if so, how it was acquired;
h. If the identity or whereabouts of the father are not known, the information about him that has been ascertained and from whom, and the steps that have been taken to establish paternity;
i. Past and present relationship with the other parent;
j.
  1. Other information about the parent, where available:
  2. Health, including any known learning difficulties or known general medical or mental health factors which are likely to have, or may have, genetic implications; Note CSF3963 for forma Letter from Medical Advisor for Court for Schedule 2/29 should be completed;
  3. Religious persuasion;
  4. Educational history;
  5. Employment history; and
  6. Personality and interests.
k. Any other relevant information which might assist the court.

Part 2: Relationships, Contact Arrangements and Views

The Child

  1. If the child is in the care of a local authority or voluntary organisation, or has been, details (including dates) of any placements with foster parents, or other arrangements in respect of the care of the child, including particulars of the persons with whom the child has had his home and observations on the care provided;
  2. The child's wishes and feelings (if appropriate, having regard to the child's age and understanding) about adoption, the application and its consequences, including any wishes in respect of religious and cultural upbringing;
  3. The child's wishes and feelings in relation to contact (if appropriate, having regard to the child's age and understanding);
  4. The child's wishes and feelings recorded in any other proceedings;
  5. Date when the child's views were last ascertained;
  6. The living arrangements of siblings and details of any current of previous court proceedings to which they are or have been subject. An indication must be given to whether any of them is the subject of an application by the same prospective adopter (known as a parallel application).

The Child's Parents (or Guardian) and Relatives

a. The parents' wishes and feelings before the placement, about the placement and about adoption, the application and its consequences, including any wishes in respect of the child's religious and cultural upbringing;
b. Each parent's (or guardian's) wishes and feelings in relation to contact;
c. Date/s when the views of each parent or guardian were last ascertained;
d.

Arrangements concerning any siblings, including half-siblings and step-siblings, and whether any are the subject of a parallel application or have been the subject of any orders. If so, for each case give:

  1. The name of the court;
  2. The order made, or (if proceedings are pending) the order applied for; and
  3. The date of order, or date of next hearing if proceedings are pending.
e. Extent of contact with the child's mother and father and, in each case, the nature of the relationship enjoyed;
f.

The relationship which the child has with relatives, and with any other person considered relevant, including:

  1. The likelihood of any such relationship continuing and the value to the child of its doing so; and
  2. The ability and willingness of any of the child's relatives, or of any such person, to provide the child with a secure environment in which the child can develop, and otherwise to meet the child's needs.
g. The wishes and feelings of any of the child's relatives, or of any such person, regarding the child;
h. Whether the parents (or members of the child's family) have met or are likely to meet the prospective adopter and, if they have met, the effect on all involved of such meeting;
i. Dates when the views of members of the child's wider family and any other relevant person were last ascertained.

Part 3: A summary of the actions of the adoption agency

  1. Brief account of the agency's actions in the case, with particulars and dates of all written information and notices given to the child and his parents and any person with parental responsibility;
  2. If consent has been given for the child to be placed for adoption, and also consent for the child to be adopted, the names of those who gave consent and the date such consents were given. If such consents were subsequently withdrawn, the dates of these withdrawals;
  3. If any statement has been made under section 20(4)(a) of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 (the "2002 Act") that a parent or guardian does not wish to be informed of any application for an adoption order, the names of those who have made such statements and the dates the statements were made. If such statements were subsequently withdrawn, the dates of these withdrawals;
  4. Whether an order has been made under section 21 of the 2002 Act, section 18 of the Adoption (Scotland) Act 1978 or Article 17(1) or 18(1) of the Northern Ireland Order 1987;
  5. Details of the support and advice given to the parents and any services offered or taken up;
  6. If the father does not have parental responsibility, details of the steps taken to inform him of the application for an adoption order;
  7. Brief details and dates of assessments of the child's needs, including expert opinions;
  8. Reasons for considering that adoption would be in the child's best interests, reference the Agency Decision Maker’s decision (with date of relevant decision and reasons for any delay in implementing the decision).

Much of the above will not apply in non-agency cases, but indicate what information it has provided to the child and birth parent, any support and advice given to the birth parent, and any steps taken or contact a father without parental responsibility. Information from any local authority assessment of the child should be used.

Section C: The Prospective Adopter of the Child

Part 1: Information about the Prospective Adopter, including suitability to adopt

a. Name, date and place of birth and address (date on which last address was confirmed current) including local authority area;
b. Photograph and physical description;
c. Whether the prospective adopter is domiciled or habitually resident in a part of the British Islands and, if habitually resident, for how long they have been habitually resident;
d. Racial origin and cultural and linguistic background;
e. Marital status or civil partnership status, date and place of most recent marriage (if any) or civil partnership (if any);
f. Details of any previous marriage, civil partnership, or relationship where the prospective adopter lived with another person as a partner in an enduring family relationship;
g. Relationship (if any) to the child;
h. Where adopters wish to adopt as a couple, the status of the relationship and an assessment of the stability and permanence of their relationship;
i. If a married person or a civil partner is applying alone, the reasons for this;
j. Description of how the prospective adopter relates to adults and children;
k. Previous experience of caring for children (including as a step-parent, foster parent, child-minder or prospective adopter) and assessment of ability in this respect, together where appropriate with assessment of ability in bringing up the prospective adopter's own children;
l. A summary, written by the agency's medical adviser, of the prospective adopter's health history, current state of health and any need for health care which is anticipated, and date of most recent medical examination;
m. Assessment of ability and suitability to bring up this child throughout his childhood;
n. Details of income and comments on the living standards of the household with particulars of the home and living conditions (and particulars of any home where the prospective adopter proposes to live with the child, if different);
o. Details of other members of the household, including any children of the prospective adopter even if not resident in the household;
p. Details of the parents and any siblings of the prospective adopter, with their ages or ages at death;
q.

Other information about the prospective adopter:

  1. Religious persuasion;
  2. Educational history;
  3. Employment history; and
  4. Personality and interests.
r. Confirmation that the applicants have not been convicted of, or cautioned for, a specified offence within the meaning of regulation 23(3) of the Adoption Agencies Regulations 2005 (S.I. 2005/389);
s. Confirmation that the prospective adopter is still approved;
t. Confirmation that any referees have been interviewed, with a report of their views and opinion of the weight to be placed therein and whether they are still valid;
u. Details of any previous family court proceedings in which the prospective adopter has been involved (which have not been referred to elsewhere in this report).

Part 2: Wishes, Views and Contact Arrangements

Prospective Adopter

  1. Whether the prospective adopter is willing to follow any wishes of the child or his parents or guardian in respect of the child's religious and cultural upbringing;
  2. The views of other members of the prospective adopter's household and wider family in relation to the proposed adoption;
  3. Reasons for the prospective adopter wishing to adopt the child and extent of understanding of the nature and effect of adoption. Whether the prospective adopter has discussed adoption with the child;
  4. Any hope and expectations the prospective adopter has for the child's future;
  5. The prospective adopter's wishes and feelings in relation to contact.

Part 3: Actions of the adoption agency

  1. Brief account of the Agency's actions in the case, with particulars and dates of all written information and notices given to the prospective adopter;
  2. The Agency's proposals for contact, including options for facilitating or achieving any indirect contact or direct contact;
  3. The Agency's opinion on the likely effect on the prospective adopter and on the security of the placement of any proposed contact;
  4. Where the prospective adopter has been approved by an agency as suitable to be an adoptive parent, the agency's reasons for considering that the prospective adopter is suitable to be an adoptive parent for this child (with dates of relevant decisions).

Section D: The Placement

  1. Where the child was placed for adoption by an adoption agency (section 18 of the 2002 Act), the date and circumstances of the child's placement with prospective adopter;
  2. Where the child is living with persons who have applied for the adoption order to be made (section 44 of the 2002 Act), the date when notice of intention to adopt was given;
  3. Where the placement is being provided with adoption support, this should be summarised and should include the plan and timescales for continuing the support beyond the making of the adoption order;
  4. Where the placement is not being provided with adoption support, the reasons why;
  5. A summary of the information obtained from the Agency's visits and reviews of the placement, including whether the child has been seen separately to the prospective adopter and whether there has been sufficient opportunity to see the family group and the child's interaction in the home environment;
  6. An assessment of the child's integration within the family of the prospective adopter and the likelihood of the child's full integration into the family and community;
  7. Where the prospective adopter’s ethnic, religious or cultural background does not reflect the child, it will be particularly pertinent to provide information about the ways in which the perspective adopter is making use of resources within the wider family and/or community to assist in meeting the child’s identity needs;
  8. Any other relevant information that might assist the court.

Section E: Recommendations

  1. The relative merits of adoption and other orders with an assessment of whether the child's long term interests would be best met by an adoption order or by other orders (such as Child Arrangements and special guardianship orders);
  2. Recommendations as to whether or not the order sought should be made and, if not, alternative proposals e.g.;
    • Making of a Child Arrangements Order or Special Guardian Order and, if appropriate, revoking the Placement Order;
    • Making of Parental Responsibility Order;
    • Removal of the child from prospective adopters and how that plan might be achieved.  If the Placement Order remains in place and the adoption application is refused, the agency may give notice to the prospective adopter, requiring them to return the child and the court should be informed if this is the agency’s intention;
    • If the parent has opposed the adoption order the recommendation should address the issue of whether the child should be returned to the care of the birth parent, and if so revocation of the Placement Order, and whether or not the local authority is seeking discharge of any Care Order at this stage;
    • If the foster carer’s non agency application fails and the child is accommodated under S 20 of the 1989 Children Act the birth parent will be entitled to request the local authority to return the child to their care.
  3. Recommendations as to whether there should be future contact arrangements (or not).

Following the making of an Adoption Order CSF3969 Notification of Adoption Order to Adoption Agency Administration should be completed by the Social Worker, Adoption Team.

End