As well as contributing to your assessment, your Social Worker will provide you with information in order that you can consider carefully if adoption is for you. In concluding your assessment both you and your Social Worker should be clear on your suitability to adopt and what type of child or children’s needs your family would be best placed to meet. The next step is the Adoption and Fostering Panel which is usually made up of four or five people who have a lot of relevant and different experiences of child care.
Applicants have the right to attend their panel when their application to become an adoptive parent is being considered. If you are unable to attend the panel this will not prejudice your application. Panel members will meet on their own at first to consider the reports they have read and decide which questions they need to ask you, your Supervising Social Worker and their Senior Worker/Team Manager. You will then be asked to come and speak to the panel. Your Supervising Social Worker may be asked to speak with the Panel on their own initially. This is usually to clarify information from the paperwork.
- You will be asked by panel members about topics such as:
- Your motivation to adopt;
- Your experience of attending preparation groups and the assessment process;
- Your support networks and their views of your plans to adopt;
- Your previous experience of caring for children;
- Your understanding of the backgrounds of children who need adoption and their birth families’ situations;
- Confirmation that statutory checks have been carried out and you are fit and healthy to adopt.
The Panel will consider all the information presented to them and at the end of the discussion will make a recommendation about your application. You will be advised of the recommendation at the meeting by the Panel Chair or immediately after the meeting by your Supervising Social Worker. A report of the discussion, along with the reports provided to the Panel, are passed to the Agency Decision Maker who is a senior manager of Social Work Services. The Agency Decision Maker must make a decision within 14 days of the Panel taking place. You will be notified of the decision by your Supervising Social Worker and this will be followed up in writing.