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OxfordshireChildren's Services Procedures Manual

Adoption Reviews

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Timescales
  3. Chairing and Convening Adoption Reviews
  4. Reports to the Review
  5. The Child’s Views
  6. The Venue
  7. The Adoption Review Agenda
  8. Adoption Review Decisions
  9. Recording the Adoption Review
  10. Reporting to Adoption and Permanency Panel
  11. After an Adoption Order is Made

1. Introduction

Once an adoption agency has Authority to Place a Child for Adoption (either through Parental Consent or a Placement Order), 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 - see Looked After Review Procedure.

2. Timescales

2.1

Where an adoptive placement has been made, Adoption Reviews must be held according the following timescales:

  • Within 4 weeks of the placement;

  • Not more than 3 months after the first review;

  • At least every 6 months thereafter.

Reviews should be held until an Adoption Order is made.

Where a placement has been made with parental consent and notice is received that such consent has been withdrawn, good practice suggests that an Adoption Review should be convened within a maximum of 3 working days. In addition urgent legal advice should be sought as to the need to apply for a Placement Order. 

Where there are concerns that the placement is at risk of breaking down, an urgent Adoption Review should be convened which should consider and identify the difficulties and consider whether any support can be provided to address the situation. 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 Adoption Review having taken place. In such circumstances, legal advice should be sought as soon as possible and prior to any action being taken. 

2.2

Where an adoptive placement has not been identified, Adoption Reviews must be held:

  • Not more than 3 months after authority to place the child for adoption was obtained;

  • At least every 6 months thereafter.

2.3

Adoption Reviews should be held until an Adoption Order is made.

3. Chairing and Convening 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 is responsible for convening the Review and should ensure that all relevant parties - the child (if old enough), the prospective adopters and their link worker are invited (where the child is placed). Any other person considered relevant should be consulted and invited in exceptional cases after discussion with the Independent Reviewing Officer and, where the child is placed, with the agreement of the prospective adopters.

There is no requirement to invite the child’s parents to attend and it will usually not be appropriate to do so. In some cases, however, it may be appropriate to ascertain the birth parents’ views and include them in the report.

4. Reports to the Review

For all Reviews, the child’s social worker must complete in advance the relevant sections of the Review Report, covering the areas listed in Section 7, The Adoption Review Agenda and incorporating the views of the child and, where the child is placed, the prospective adopters and the prospective adopters’ link worker. 

The report should be circulated to all invitees at least 24 hours prior to the meeting. The report should be sent to the Independent Reviewing Officer, together with the child’s Care Plan, the Adoption Placement Report and the Adoption Support Plan.

5. The Child’s Views

As part of the Review, the Independent Reviewing Officer must as far as reasonably practicable ascertain the views of the child (having regard to his or her age and understanding), the prospective adopters and any other person the agency considers relevant.

Where the child wishes to take proceedings on his or her 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.

6. The Venue

Where the child is placed, the Review will usually take place, with the agreement of the prospective adopters, at the prospective adoptive home.

7. The Adoption Review Agenda

7.1 Where the Child is Placed for Adoption

The Review will consider and evaluate the adoption placement in terms of meeting the child’s needs and the objectives set at each Review and in particular consider the following areas:

  1. The child’s Health Care Plan (including arrangements for the child’s medical and dental care);
  2. The child’s educational progress;
  3. Any regression in the child’s development since the placement;
  4. Evidence of the child’s attachment to the prospective adopters;
  5. Observations of any grieving process in relation to the previous carers;
  6. Any direct work being undertaken or required, including the Life Story Book;
  7. Any concerns;
  8. The Adoption Support Plan and whether it should continue or be altered;
  9. The arrangements for the exercise of Parental Responsibility in the placement and whether they should continue or be altered;
  10. The contact arrangements and whether they should continue or be altered;
  11. Any outstanding Court proceedings;
  12. The timing of the adoption application;     
  13. The timing of the ‘Letter of Origin’ from the social worker being given to the child;
  14. Responsibility for providing Court reports;
  15. Date for next review.

Following the first review only. The social worker will provide agreed written feedback to the birth parents providing details of how the child is and how they have settled.

7.2 Where the Child is not Placed for Adoption

The Adoption Review will consider all aspects of the child’s health and development and the progress made in identifying a suitable adoptive placement for the child.

Where the child has not been placed for adoption by the time of the second Adoption Review (i.e. after a period of 9 months), 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.

8. Adoption Review Decisions

The Independent Reviewing Officer must 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.

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.

At the first (28 day) Adoption Review, the social worker will write (a one off letter) to the birth parents to confirm that the child has moved and has settled well etc. The letter should also set out when they can expect their first letter box contact and confirm that a meeting for them and the adopters will be set up at an appropriate time (if this has been agreed). The adopters' profile could also be sent with this letter if necessary, although the social worker should have already sent the profile out following the linking panel.

9. Recording the Adoption Review

The Independent Reviewing Officer will complete the Record of Discussion and Decision within 10 days of the Review and send it to the child’s social worker for distribution to the participants. 

The relevant social workers must ensure that a record of the Review is placed on the child’s and prospective adopter’s Adoption Case File. 

10. Reporting to Adoption and Permanency Panel

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 and Permanency 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.

11. After an Adoption Order is Made

Following the making of an Adoption Order, and assuming the case is then closed, the child’s social worker must complete the child’s Adoption Case File. The Adoption Team Manager will check the contents of the Adoption Case File before placing it in safe storage within 2 months of the Adoption Order being granted.

The computer recording system should also record the Adoption Order both for the County Adoption Register and the LAC Team’s tracking systems for children.