SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER
This chapter applies to the reviews where the adoption agency has authority to place a child for adoption either through a Placement Order or Parental Consent to Adoptive Placement. It sets out the different timescales that apply depending on whether or not the child has been placed for adoption by the adoption agency.
For reviews in relation to children from overseas placed with Inter Country Adopters, see Inter-Country Adoption Procedure - to follow.
For reviews of prospective adopters approval, see Assessment and Approval of Prospective Adopters Procedure and Inter-Country Adoption Procedure - to follow.
For Disruption Meetings, after a Placement Breakdown, see Disruption of Adoptive Placements Procedure.
AMENDMENTThis chapter was reviewed and amended in November 2015, particularly with respect to the 'Later Life letter' and completing matters when the Adoption Order is made.
1. Arrangements for Adoption Reviews
Once an adoption agency has Authority to Place for Adoption, 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: Child Looked After Reviews 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), 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 people to Adoption 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 an Adoption 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.
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.
Where there are concerns that the placement is at risk of breaking down, an Adoption Review must be convened immediately. The Independent Reviewing Officer may recommend that a Placement Support Meeting is convened by the child's social worker and chaired by the Adoption Manager. Where a placement breaks down, see chapter on Disruption of Adoptive Placements Procedure.
Where a placement has been made with parental consent and notice is received that such consent has been withdrawn, a Review must be convened immediately and urgent legal advice should be taken as to whether there are grounds for an application for an Emergency Protection Order/Interim Care Order (if no Care Order exists) and/or 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 a formal 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 a 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.
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 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
The Adoption Review will consider the following areas:
Where the child is the subject of a Placement Order and has not been placed for adoption by the time of the first six month Review, the Review must also:
|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.
|4.||The Independent Reviewing Officer must also ensure that anyone responsible for implementing a decision taken at the 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.||Any decisions made at the 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) and any other person considered relevant by the child's social worker and the Independent Reviewing Officer, such as the birth parents.|
|6.||The information obtained during an Adoption Review, any decisions made at the Review and the minutes of any meeting arranged to consider any aspect of the Adoption Review must be placed on the child's Adoption Case Record.|
|7.||Where a child has been placed for adoption but not adopted within 12 months, the child's social worker must present a further report to the Adoption Panel identifying the length of the delay, the reasons and the steps being taken to address any difficulties.|
|8.||Where an agency decision has been made to place a child for adoption but the child has not been placed within 6 months, the child's social worker must present a further report to the Adoption Panel identifying the length of the delay, the reasons and the steps being taken to address any difficulties, including consideration of a review of the adoption plan and/or a possible change to long-term fostering/separation of siblings.|
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. The Adoption Case Record should then be closed within 2 months of the Adoption Order being granted.