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3.10.11 Adoption Reviews

RELATED CHAPTERS

Appointment and Role of Independent Reviewing Officers Procedure

AMENDMENT

This chapter was amended in December 2011 to reflect the Adoption National Minimum Standards 2011 and Adoption Guidance 2011. Section 1, Arrangements for Adoption Reviews has been amended to state that until a child is placed for adoption, Adoption Reviews should run alongside Looked After Reviews, rather than supersede them. Section 5, The Conduct of Adoption Reviews now includes reference that the IRO should advise the child about his or her right to appoint an advocate where they have problems or concerns.


Contents

  1. Arrangements for Adoption Reviews
  2. Convening and Chairing Adoption Reviews
  3. Timescales for Adoption Reviews
  4. Reports for Adoption Reviews
  5. The Conduct of Adoption Reviews
  6. After an Adoption Order is Made


1. Arrangements for Adoption Reviews

Once an adoption agency has authority to place a child for adoption - either through a Placement Order or the witnessing of parental consent, there is a requirement to review the child's case under the Adoption Agencies Regulations 2005. Until the child is placed for adoption, this runs alongside the requirement to hold a Looked After Review in relation to the child - see Looked After Review Procedure.

The child's social worker should provide written information about the intended arrangements for Adoption Reviews, to the child (depending on age and understanding), to the prospective adopters (usually this will be part of the Adoption Placement Plan), foster carers, and to any other person considered relevant, such as the child's parents.


2. Convening and Chairing Adoption Reviews

So far as reasonably practicable, all Adoption Reviews will be chaired by the child's Independent Reviewing Officer.

The child's social worker, in conjunction with the Independent Reviewing Officer, will invite relevant persons to Reviews.

There is no requirement to invite birth parents to Adoption Reviews or to consult them prior to a Review, but the child's social worker, in conjunction with the Independent Reviewing Officer, may consider that their views should be ascertained and reported to the Review or that the parents should be invited in appropriate cases.


3. Timescales for Adoption Reviews

The timescales for holding Adoption Reviews will depend on whether the child has been placed for adoption.

3.1 Adoption Reviews of children not yet placed for adoption

Where the child has not been placed for adoption, arrangements must be made so that an Adoption Review is held:

  • No later than 3 months after authority to place the child for adoption has been obtained;
  • At least every 6 months thereafter until an adoptive placement is made (see Section 5.2 below.

3.2 Adoption Reviews of children who have been placed for adoption

Where the child has been placed for adoption, arrangements must be made so that an Adoption Review is held:

  • Within 4 weeks of the placement;
  • Not more than 3 months after the first review unless an application for an Adoption Order has been made;
  • At least every 6 months thereafter until an adoption order has been made or the adoptive placement ends;
  • If the placement disrupts a review must be held between 28 days and 42 days after the disruption.

Where there are concerns that the placement is at risk of breaking down, an Adoption Review must be convened immediately. Where placements break down, see Placement for Adoption Procedure.

Where a placement has been made with parental consent and notice is received that such consent has been withdrawn, an Adoption Review must be convened immediately and urgent legal advice should be taken as to whether an application should be made for a Placement Order.

Unless there are exceptional circumstances, for example child protection concerns and/or significant risk, no decision to move a child from a placement shall take place without an Adoption Review having taken place. In such circumstances, legal advice should be sought as soon as possible and prior to any action being taken. 

3.3 All Cases

The child's social worker must inform the Independent Reviewing Officer of any failure to make arrangements agreed at an Adoption Review or any significant changes in the child's circumstances at a Review, so that a decision can be made as to the need to convene a further Review - see Appointment and Role of Independent Reviewing Officers Procedure.

The views of the foster carers and the carer's supervising social worker should be sought if the child is not placed.


4. Reports for Adoption Reviews 

The child's social worker will prepare a report for the Adoption Review, incorporating the views of the child, the prospective adopters and the prospective adopters' social worker (where the child is placed), the birth parents or family members (in appropriate cases) and any other relevant person (for example health visitor or teacher), which should be circulated prior to the meeting.


5. The Conduct of Adoption Reviews

5.1

The Adoption Review will consider the following areas:

  1. Whether the meeting remains satisfied that the child should be placed for adoption;
  2. The child's needs, welfare and development, and whether any changes need to be made to meet the child's needs or assist his/her development;
  3. Review existing arrangements for contact and whether they should continue or be altered;
  4. Where the child has been placed for adoption, the arrangements in relation to the exercise of Parental Responsibility for the child and whether they should continue or be altered;
  5. The arrangements for the provision of adoption support services for the adoptive family and whether there should be any re-assessment of the need for those services;
  6. In consultation with the appropriate agencies, the arrangements for assessing and meeting the child's health care and educational needs;
  7. Any concerns;
  8. Outstanding Court proceedings;
  9. Where the child is placed for adoption, the timing of the adoption application;
  10. The timing of the 'Later in Life Letter' from the social worker and life story work being given to the child (preferably prior to the Adoption Order but no later than 10 working days after the Adoption Order is made);

  11. The responsibility for providing Court reports;
  12. The frequency of future reviews and the date for the next Adoption Review;
  13. The frequency of social work visits should be decided at the second and subsequent reviews.
5.2

Where the child is the subject of a Placement Order or consent and has not been placed for adoption by the first six month review (nine months after the order/consent), that Review must also:

  1. Establish why the child has not been placed for adoption and consider what further steps it should take to arrange for the child to be placed for adoption; and
  2. Consider whether it remains satisfied that the child should be placed for adoption.
5.3 The Independent Reviewing Officer must ensure that the views of the child are properly understood by the Review and taken into account. Where the child wishes to take proceedings on their own account, for example to apply for the revocation of a Placement Order, the Independent Reviewing Officer must assist the child to obtain legal advice or establish whether an appropriate adult is able and willing to provide legal advice and/or bring the proceedings on the child's behalf. The IRO should advise the child about his or her right to appoint an advocate where they have problems or concerns.
5.4 The Independent Reviewing Officer must always ensure that anyone responsible for implementing a decision taken at a Review is identified, and that any failure to review the case or implement decisions made at a Review is brought to the attention of senior managers within the agency.
5.5 Any decisions made at an Adoption Review should be notified in writing to the child (depending on age and understanding), the prospective adopters (where the child has been placed for adoption), the foster carer (where the child has not been placed) and any other person considered relevant by the child's social worker and the Independent Reviewing Officer, such as the birth parents.
5.6 The information obtained during an Adoption Review, any decisions made at a Review and the minutes of any meeting arranged to consider any aspect of an Adoption Review must be placed on the child's Adoption Case Record.


6. After an Adoption Order is Made

Once an Adoption Order is made, the child's social worker should complete the Adoption Case Record and ensure that the necessary work has been undertaken to complete the adoption process i.e. Post Adoption Contact Agreement, Risk Assessments, Life Story Work and Later in Life Letter. The Adoption Case Record should then be closed and sent to the Adoption and Permanence Team.

End