Review of Suitability to Adopt
SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTERThis chapter was developed/entirely revised in September 2012 and should be read in full.
1. Review of Suitability to Adopt by Adoption Panel
If, one year after adopter(s) are approved, a child has not been placed for adoption, then the Team Manager prepares a paper to present to panel, so that the suitability to adopt may be reviewed.
If, after two years adopter(s) are approved, a child has not been placed, the Adoption social worker should update the assessment and return the matter to Adoption Panel so the suitability to adopt may be reviewed.
There may be occasions when, following supervision, serious concerns arise such as child protection issues or a placement disrupts, when it is decided to seek to de-register approved adopters - the process for consideration of the termination of approved adopters following review is as follows:
It may be that a review of the suitability to adopt of approved adopters will be the result of a placement breakdown, If this is the case, it is expected that a Disruption Meeting will have been held, and there will be discussions to attempt to resolve and difficulties for the approved adopters by the Adoption Team staff.
However, it is possible that a placement has not been made but the circumstances of the approved adopters has changed and it is the view of the Adoption Team that the approved adopters registration with the agency cannot be maintained, but this is not the view of the approved adopters. If discussion cannot resolve the situation satisfactory the Adoption Panel for consideration of reviewing the suitability of the approved adopters.
Written information will be provided to the approved adopters about this procedure.
The Adoption Team staff will prepare a report for the Adoption Panel which needs to set out the proposal for no longer continuing with the adopter's approval. This must follow a formal review of the adopters.
The report will be given to the adopters at least four weeks before the panel date. There must be clear reasons given for concluding that the adopters should no longer be approved. The adopters have ten days to make their comments and return these to the relevant social worker.
If the adopters agree with the proposal then they should sign the report stating their agreement. If however they do not agree they need to send their comments.
Adopters will be incited to attend the panel and can being a personal support to the panel discussion. If this person is a lawyer, their attendance will not be as a professional adviser, but as personal support to the adopters.
A written response is required form the approved adopters, and this document will form the basis of the Panels discussion. The Panel can consider no other information if the information is not the approved adopters written response.
The written representation from the approved adopters needs to be with the panel administrator no later than 10 working days before the panel date.
Adoption Panel members will receive copies of the Adoption Teams report, the approved adopters response, the approved adopters Form F, minutes of the Approval Panel, any relevant child's Form E, Matching Panel minutes and Disruption Meeting minutes, 19 days prior to the date of the Panel.
2. Panel Hearing
- An outline of the Panels process will be given to those attending. This should be sent to the approved adopters at the same time as the Adoption Teams report;
- The Panel discussion will follow the format outlined below;
- The Adoption Team staff approved adopters will be invited to join Panel members at the start of any discussion where de-registration is being considered;
- The chair will seek and further comments and any update of the information from the Adoption Teams report. Chair and Panel members will ask questions of the Adoption Team concerning their report;
- The approved adopters will be asked to respond to the Adoption Teams report and the chair and Panel members will obtain clarification from the approved adopters and Adoption Team staff;
- Both approved adopters and Adoption Team staff will be asked to leave the Adoption Panel room and wait while the Panel discuss the information and agree a recommendation with reasons for the recommendation;
- The recommendation may be either unanimous or, is this is not possible, a majority recommendation will be accepted;
- Both approved adopters and Adoption Team staff will be asked to return to be told of the Panels recommendation and the reasons for making this recommendation;
- A record of the discussion will be made, but this will not be verbatim minutes. A copy of this report will be supplied to the approved adopters, Adoption Team staff and Panel members. Any amendments will be considered by the Chair and amended at the Chair's discretion;
- In the event the adoption panel recommendation is to no longer continue the adopters approval then if the Agency Decision Maker endorses this recommendation then this becomes a qualifying determination. This procedure is then the same as when applicants are not approved (see Assessment and Approval of Prospective Adopters Procedure, Representations / Independent Review Procedure).