Review of Prospective Adopters' Approval


In November 2021 this chapter was revised throughout in line with local practice.

1. Who must be Reviewed? (Adoption Agencies Regulation 29)

All prospective adopters whose approval is more than one year old and who do not have a child in placement must have a review after a year. Adopters who do not have a child in placement but have experienced a significant event will also experience a review.

2. When should Reviews take Place?

Whenever the adoption agency considers it necessary but in any event not more than one year after the prospective adopters have been approved and at intervals of not more than one year thereafter until they have been matched with a child.

3. Form the Review will take

Reviews will be carried out by the allocated worker in partnership with the adopter and this will be recorded on Together for Adoption’s “Adopter’s Review Form”. The review must consist of assessment sessions completed with the adopters.

The review will cover the following areas:

3.1 What has changed regarding the following since approval?

  1. Finances;
  2. Family or household composition;
  3. Work commitments;
  4. Health.

3.2 Police, References and medical checks

  1. Police checks that are more than two years old will have to be repeated. (AAR 29.3 a);
  2. Adult Health Assessments – will have to be repeated if they are more than two years old or where there has been a significant change;
  3. The allocated worker will obtain an updated view from personal references.

3.3 Matches and family finding: What children have the prospective adopters been considered for?

  1. Why did the placement not go ahead?
  2. Should the range of child change?
  3. Agency's actions in family finding;
  4. Anything else that will need to happen before a child can be placed?
  5. Plan to progress family finding in the next twelve months;
  6. If the adopter has experienced a disruption.  The reasons behind this and any further action or learning;
  7. Whether the adopter continues to be able to meet the needs of adopted children and whether Together for Adoption would support continued approval.

3.5 Motivation

  1. What have the prospective adopters learnt from the adoption approval process and the past year?
  2. Is there anything new that has emerged for the adoption agency since the assessment?
  3. Has motivation changed?

3.6 Continuing suitability to adopt - recommendation.

The adoptive family will be given the opportunity to consider their review report and to make any comments 10 days before their review meeting date. 

The outcome of the review report will be discussed within a meeting between adopters, social worker and Practice Manager at the adopters’ home. The Practice Manager will make a record of the meeting, and this will be recorded as part of the "Adopter’s Review Form". If there is felt to be significant information to be considered within the review meeting (i.e. previous breakdown or recommendation for de-registration) then this meeting will be chaired by a Principal Manager in a Together for Adoption office.

4. Where Prospective Adopter Remains Suitable to Adopt

If the recommendation of the review is that Together for Adoption continue to support the adopter’s approval, then the review meeting will focus on and record the family finding plan moving forward. The adopters will then have an opportunity to view the final form and to comment on any plans agreed.

The Practice Manager will then confirm in writing to the adopters that they remain suitable to adopt.

5. Where the Review Meeting Raises Questions about the Prospective Adopters' Continuing Suitability to Adopt

If the recommendation of the review is that Together for Adoption do not support the adopter’s continual approval, then this will be explained to the adopters in the review meeting and the adopter’s will be informed of the options available to them. The adopters will then have the opportunity to review and comment on the final report 10 days before it is submitted to panel.

If the prospective adopters decide that they understand the reasons why Together for Adoption no longer support their approval and they are in agreement with this, then a request will be made for a “withdrawal form” to be completed.

6. Role of the Adoption Panel in Prospective Adopter Reviews

If the review of approval is to be considered by the adoption panel, then the panel will consider the PAR, approval minutes, review report, the prospective adopters’ views and any other relevant information requested by panel.

The prospective adopter may attend the Panel or express their views in writing.

The Panel will consider the report and make a recommendation to the Agency Decision Maker about the prospective adopters' continuing suitability to adopt. AAR 2005 29(7)

The prospective adopters may at any time decide they no longer wish to adopt, in which case the agency will inform the Panel.

7. Making the Decision about Continuing Suitability to Adopt

The Panel will make a recommendation to the Agency Decision Maker.

The adoption agency decision maker will make a decision following panel’s recommendation within 10 days of receiving the panel’s recommendation minutes as to whether the prospective adopter continues to be suitable to adopt a child. The adopters will be informed of this in writing and of their rights under AAR 2005 section 27 (2-10) within 5 days of making the decision.

8. Representations Procedure - Appealing Against an Unfavourable Review Decision

Where the agency makes a qualifying determination that the prospective adopter is no longer suitable to adopt, the Agency Decision Maker will write to them within five working days of making the decision.

The prospective adopter will then have three options

  • They may either accept the decision made within 40 working days;
  • They may make representations to the agency. This must be in writing and within 40 working days. The Agency decision maker may consider the case again or refer the case back to the adoption panel to make a fresh recommendation for the Agency decision maker to consider;
  • The prospective adopter/s may make an application to an independent review panel for a review of the case. To do so, a written application must be provided to the independent review mechanism (IRM) within 40 working days.

Should there be no response from the prospective adopter/s following 40 working days, then the Agency decision maker will write to confirm their decision that they are no longer suitable to adopt.

If the applicant wishes their case to be referred to the Independent Review Panel

  1. If the applicant decides to refer the matter to an Independent Review, the Panel administrator will send the following documents to the Independent Review Panel within 10 working days;
    1. The relevant Panel reports;
    2. The prospective adopter's views on the reports;
    3. The Panel minutes including the record of the decision made with reasons;
    4. Notification to the prospective adopter;
    5. Any other information requested;
    6. Any relevant information about the prospective adopters that the agency obtained after the above information and reports were passed to the Adoption Panel will also be sent.
  2. The applicant will be invited to attend the Independent Review;
  3. After considering the representations, the Independent Review may make a recommendation, which the Agency Decision Maker will consider before a final decision is made;
  4. The Independent Review Panel cannot overturn the agency decision, as it does not have the power to do so;
  5. The Agency Decision Maker will make the final decision and record the decision, together with reasons, within 7 working days of the receipt of the Independent Review recommendation. Written notice of the decision, together with reasons, will be sent to the prospective adopters orally within 2 working days and in writing within 7 working days;
  6. Where the agency decision is different from the recommendation of the Independent Review Panel, the agency must also provide the prospective adopters with information about the Independent Panel's recommendation;
  7. Where an Independent Review Panel has made a recommendation, the agency must send to the Independent Review Panel Administrator a copy of its decision on the prospective adopter's suitability to adopt;
  8. A copy of the report to the Adoption Panel, the Adoption Panel's recommendation, the Independent Review Panel's recommendations and the decision to refuse an application must be retained on the applicant's Adoption Case Record.