What is involved
You may be aware that as from 1st July 2013, in line with the Government’s Adoption Reform, there is a clear assessment process for prospective adopters that should take no longer than six months as long as all the required information has been provided for the assessment to be completed .
The six months assessment process is divided into two stages. The assessment is designed to ensure adoption is right for you as a family, that you are right for a child/children needing an adoptive family and that you are able to meet the challenges of adoption.
Once you have received the adoption information you need, through the written information and a visit by members of the adoption team, if you have decided you wish to move to the next stage of the adoption process, you will need to formally register your interest with us. We will let you know within five working days of receiving your Registration of Interest if you have been accepted for stage one of the assessment.
Stage one begins when we accept your Registration of Interest it and should take two months to complete.
During stage one we will sign an agreement with you whereby you are clear of the expectations and requirements. You will need to have developed your knowledge and understanding of adoption and the challenges involved, through your learning via materials and guidance we will provide.
As a safeguard for everyone involved we will need your consent to carry out checks with the police, health authority, probation service and local authority departments such as housing and education, including a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.
We will also make initial contact with your four identified referees and one family member for each applicant. These people need to be able to comment on various stages of your life and relationships and your capacity to care for a child. We will meet with all your referees.
In addition you will need to have a medical examination by your GP.
We will contact previous and current employers to confirm your identity via your national insurance number. The fact that you are applying to adopt will not be disclosed.
We will also need to contact previous partners and may interview any children, depending on their age and understanding.
Once you have completed stage one and we are in agreement with you moving on to stage two of the assessment, you will be allocated a social worker who will complete the assessment with you and you will also be invited on to adoption preparation groups to assist your learning and inform the assessment.
This part of the process should take four months, during which time an adoption worker will compile a detailed report that includes information relating to your family background, relationships, childcare experience, skills and qualities that evidence your potential to be an adoptive parent.
You will be allocated an adoption worker who will complete the assessment with you and you will also be invited to adoption preparation groups to assist your learning and inform the assessment. During the assessment process the adoption social worker will meet with you regularly – usually about ten visits are made in total. We will sign an agreement with you that covers appointment times, the issues to be explored and the date for the assessment to be completed.
You should be prepared to talk openly and frankly with your adoption worker about your background, relationships and many other issues that have a direct bearing on how you are likely to respond to any child likely to be placed with you.
The assessment will look at your particular family structure and what this will offer to a child. We will look at your physical and emotional ability to care for a child with a complex history and continuing emotional needs.
This may include looking at issues relating to disability and/or medical conditions that may limit or otherwise affect lifestyle, mental health issues (including past history), the impact of any racial or cultural differences (for either you or the child) and specific
relationship or family issues that may have an impact on a child placed with you.
There is no intention to discriminate against any applicants but our assessment must conclude that you can provide a physically and emotionally safe environment for a child.
You must be prepared to work with us in addressing any issues which are considered relevant. We appreciate that this may be difficult for you and we will of course be sensitive to this and support and assist you in the process.
Once the assessment is complete, you will be invited to attend the Adoption Panel with your adoption worker, where your application will be discussed. We will inform you of panel’s recommendation as soon as the discussion has concluded and will let you know the agency’s decision in writing within seven working days.
We will support you throughout the process alongside Adoption UK and link you with other experienced adoptive families who can provide invaluable insight into caring for adopted children.