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5.3.7 Adoption Reviews

SCOPE OF CHAPTER

This chapter applies to reviews where there is authority to place a child for adoption either through a Placement Order or Parental Consent to an Adoptive Placement. It sets out the different timescales that apply depending on whether or not the child has been placed for adoption.

RELATED CHAPTERS

Appointment and Role of Independent Reviewing Officers Procedure

For reviews in relation to children from overseas placed with Inter Country Adopters, see Inter Country Adoption Procedure.

For reviews of prospective adopters' approval, see Assessment and Approval of Prospective Adopters Procedure.

For Disruption Meetings, after a Placement Breakdown, see Disruption of an Adoptive Placement Procedure.

AMENDMENT

This procedure was updated in October 2018.


Contents

  1. Arrangements for Adoption Reviews
  2. Convening and Chairing
  3. Timescales
  4. Reports
  5. The Conduct of Adoption Reviews


1. Arrangements for Adoption Reviews

Once the local authority has ‘Authority to Place for Adoption’ reviews of the child's case are held under the Adoption Agencies Regulations 2005. Until the child is placed for adoption, this runs alongside the requirement to hold Looked After Reviews in relation to the child - Looked After Reviews Procedure.

The child's social worker should explain, and provide written information about, the arrangements for Adoption Reviews to the child (depending on age and understanding), 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 will normally be chaired by the child's Independent Reviewing Officer.

Whilst there is no requirement to invite birth parents to Adoption Reviews or to consult them prior to a Review, this should still happen unless there are reasons, agreed between the social worker and IRO, why this would not be appropriate. In any event, the child's social worker should ascertain their views.


3. Timescales

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

3.1 Children not yet placed for adoption

Where the child has not been placed for adoption, an Adoption Review must be 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 Children who have been placed for adoption

Where the child has been placed for adoption, an Adoption Review must be held:

  • Within 4 weeks of the placement;
  • Not more than 3 months after the first review;
  • 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 fragile or at risk of breaking down, an Adoption Review must be convened immediately. Should the placement break down, see Disruption of Adoptive Placements Procedure.

Where a placement has been made with parental consent and notice is received that this consent has been withdrawn, a Review must be convened immediately and urgent legal advice 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 will be made 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 if any decisions/arrangements agreed at a review have not been effected, or of any significant changes in the child's circumstances, so the need to convene a further Review can be promptly considered - see Appointment and Role of Independent Reviewing Officers Procedure.


4. Reports 

The child's social worker will prepare a report for the Adoption Review, incorporating an update on plans, 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.

All participants should be consulted prior to the review and encouraged to provide reports, as appropriate.


5. The Conduct of Adoption Reviews

  • The Adoption Review will consider the following areas:
    • Whether it remains satisfied that the child should be placed for adoption;
    • The child's needs, welfare and development, and whether any changes need to be made to meet the child's needs or assist their development;
    • Review the existing arrangements for contact and whether they should continue or be altered;
    • 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;
    • 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;
    • In consultation with the appropriate agencies, the arrangements for assessing and meeting the child's health care and educational needs;
    • Any concerns;
    • Outstanding Court proceedings;
    • Where the child is placed for adoption, the timing of the adoption application;
    • The timing of the Life Story Book and 'Later Life Letter' from the social worker being given to the child;
    • The responsibility for providing Court reports;
    • The frequency of future reviews and the date for the next Review;
    • The Adoption Support Plan.
  • 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:
    • Establish why the child has not been placed for adoption and consider what further steps it should be taken to identify a suitable placement; and
    • Consider whether it remains satisfied that the child should be placed for adoption.

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 their right to the support of an advocate where they have problems, concerns or might benefit from such support.

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, where appropriate.

Any decisions made at the Review will 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.

The information obtained during an Adoption Review, any decisions made and the minutes of any meeting arranged to consider any aspect of the Adoption Review are recorded on the child's Adoption Case Record.

Progress towards adoption is monitored through monthly Permanence Tracking Meetings to ensure that everything possible is done to secure a suitable adoptive placement within a timescale suitable for the child. This must be supported by robust challenge to the planning process by the IRO including, where appropriate, escalating concerns to senior managers.

End