Supporting Adoptive Placements
SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTERThis chapter was developed/entirely revised in September 2012 and should be read in full
Arrangements for and frequency of visits for supervising the placement must be made at Placement Planning Meetings and set out in the Placement for Adoption Procedure.
This will involve at a minimum:
- The child's social worker visiting the child within the first week of the placement and then weekly until the first review;
- Thereafter, the frequency of visits will be determined at the child's Adoption Review or, if not specified, every six weeks for the first year and after this, on a three-monthly basis.
Where there are any concerns, additional visits should be arranged.
The adopters' link worker will also carry out visits at intervals agreed in the Adoption Placement Plan - and more frequently if circumstances require. The visits should continue until an Adoption Order has been made or until the placement is terminated.
Ongoing post-placement support, advice and counselling will be necessary following placement until the making of an Adoption Order and possibly longer. Sources of expert help and advice will have been identified at the introductory stage and noted in the Adoption Support Plan
Visits must be made by suitably experienced qualified social workers or social workers/student social workers who are supervised by suitably qualified and experienced social workers - see Section 7, Reports to Adoption Panel and Agency Decision Maker, of the Adoption Panel and Agency Decision Maker's Decision Procedure.
Records of all visits must be made and copies placed on the child's Adoption Case Record. Between visits, the social workers involved must discuss progress in the placement and read each other's recording of visits during the monitoring period.
Where there are concerns that the placement is at risk of breaking down, a review meeting must be convened immediately by the child's social worker - see Adoption Reviews Procedure.
The child should be seen alone (if appropriate according to his or her age and understanding) at all of the visits, whether undertaken by the child's social worker or the adopters' link worker, and his or her wishes and feelings recorded.
The child's social worker will arrange for the child to continue to have health assessments in line with his or her Health Care Plan and that the Health Care Plan continues to be reviewed up to the Adoption Order in accordance with the procedures for Looked After Children.
The procedures to be followed where a placement disrupts are set out in Disruption of Adoptive Placements Procedure.
Visits to the child and adopters after the Adoption Order will be made as and when required under the Adoption Support Plan - see Adoption Support Procedure.
Supporting adopters with application to adopt
It is a decision of the adoption review that the timing is correct for the application see Adoption Reviews Procedure.
If the birth parents are in agreement with the adoption (non-contested adoptions) the applicants can obtain forms from the court to apply for an Adoption Order. A serial number can be obtained from the court to preserve the adopter's confidentiality. The application should be made, in the first instance, to the court which made the Care Order. If a parent has given consent under Section 20 he or she cannot oppose the making of an adoption order without leave of the court. The court will not give leave unless there have been significant change in circumstances.
When completed, 3 copies of the court form should be submitted to the court, together with:
- Applicant's marriage certificate (where appropriate);
- Child's birth certificate or certificate if previous adoption;
- Court fee, payable by the adopters unless they are in receipt of on-going financial support or, in exceptional circumstances, when HCC may pay the fee;
- Information about any orders already made, or documents giving parental consent, e.g. care order (1976 Act) and/ or placement order.
(Responsibility - Adopters).The adopter's social worker should explain to the adopters that a Reporting Officer/ guardian will be appointed. The role of the reporting officer is to file the consent documents and the guardian will represent the child and assist the court if required.