- / Procedures
- / Children living away from home
- / Adoption
- / Placing children with adopters
- / Adoption and Permanence Panel
Adoption and Permanence Panel
The Adoption Panel meet monthly. The Panel Administrator arranges additional special meetings at short notice to avoid delay and as necessary, where for example there is a need to consider an urgent placement or where the child in question is the subject of care proceedings and the timing of the Panel consideration needs to dovetail with the Court timetable.The Panel Administrator, in consultation with the Panel Adviser, prepares the agenda for each meeting and draws members from the Central Panel. The Panel Administrator sends/emails the agenda and supporting papers to members before the meeting. The panel must have papers five working days before the meeting.The Panel Administrator, in consultation with the Agency Adviser, will also arrange for other specialists to attend Panel meetings as appropriate, for example where there are issues relating to a child's culture or the child's Guardian wishes to attend/submits a summary report.The agenda will include at the beginning an opportunity for any Panel member to declare an interest in any item on the agenda. If an interest is declared the meeting must then decide whether the Panel member should withdraw during consideration of the item. Decisions The Chair will ask each Panel member to express a view on the recommendation. In the event of a disagreement between Panel members, the Chair will consider whether further information is required or whether the Panel should go ahead and make a recommendation on the basis of the majority view. In this event, any dissenting view should be fully recorded in the minutes.
Panel purpose and function The Panel contributes to the running and quality assurance of the Department's permanence plans. The Panel has an overriding responsibility to promote good practice, consistency of approach and fairness in all aspects of the Department in accordance with its procedures and values Recommendations As part of this function, the Panel makes recommendations as to the following:
- The suitability of prospective adoptive applicants as adoptive parents (including where written representations are received from prospective adoptive applicants after a decision to refuse an application has been made, and where advice is sought over whether or not a particular assessment should continue or be ended);
- Whether a child should be placed for adoption;
- Where long term fostering (as opposed to adoption) is the plan for a Looked After child, whether the plan is in the interests of the child;
- Where adoption is the preferred plan, whether permanent fostering is an acceptable alternative if suitable prospective adoptive parents have not been identified in a time scale which is suitable to meet the needs of the child, having regard to their age and length of time as a looked after child. The timeframe is recommended by the Panel.
- Where adoption is the plan, the placement of children with particular adoptive parents;
- The suitability of Kinship Carer Assessments.
- Any other matter related to its functions, which the Chair considers appropriate to refer for consideration.The Panel's recommendation should not be conditional and it should not make any "in principle" recommendations. Timescales
- Panels make a recommendation on whether a child is suitable to be placed for adoption within two months of the Looked After Review where adoption was identified as the child's identified Permanence Plan.
- Panels aim to make a recommendation on the proposed placement of a child with particular prospective adopters within twelve months of the Agency Decision Maker's decision that the child is suitable to be placed for adoption.
- Where the timescales are not met, the Panel should record the reasons..Advice The Panel must also consider and may also give advice on the following:
- Where a child is recommended as suitable for adoption, the future contact arrangements.
- Where prospective adopters are recommended as suitable to adopt, the number, age range, gender, likely needs and background of the children who may be placed with them;
- Where a placement of a child with particular prospective adopters is recommended, the future contact arrangements, the proposed adoption supportMonitoring The Panel also monitors the progress of individual children for whom adoption is the plan up to the making of an adoption order, through progress reports.The Panel also receives Disruption Reports in relation to any breakdowns in adoptive placements, and may consider changes to children's adoption plans as a result. Minutes The Adoption and Permanence Panel must make a written record of its proceedings and keep a written record of its recommendations and the reasons for those recommendations.The Panel minutes will always record the information in relation to the following:
- The reports received.
- Key issues and views expressed by Panel members;
- Medical advice on health information and reports on children and adopters;
- Legal advice if applicable;
- The Panel's conclusions;
- The Panel's recommendations and reasons (including any reservation expressed by any member);
- Any advice given by the Panel.In relation to any agenda item relating to the plan for a child, the reports will also contain information in relation to the following:
- The wishes and feelings of the child and, if not acted on, the reasons;
- The wishes and feelings of the parents;
- The wishes and feelings of members of the extended family and significant others;
- The counselling of the parents;
- The child's assessed needs;
- Alternatives to adoption/permanent placement considered and reasons for rejection;
- Any ethnic, cultural or religious issues and advice obtained;
- The views of the Children's Guardian if known;
- The assessment regarding post-adoption contact;
- The assessment regarding post-adoption support needs.The Panel minutes will be kept on every child's adoption file.The Panel Chair and Panel Advisor are responsible for ensuring that the Panel's records are accurate.The Panel Coordinator will prepare the minutes to be initially checked by the Panel Adviser and the Chair. The minutes should be sent to the Agency Decision Maker within three working days of the panel meeting.The Panel Administrator and Panel advisor will prepare letters to be signed by the Agency Decision Maker informing prospective permanent carers and birth parents of the agency decision and where appropriate children.This letter will be sent to prospective adopters and birth parents within five working days of the Agency Decision Makers decision, following verbal notification of the decision within 48 hours of the decision.Prospective carers will also be informed verbally of the Panel recommendations immediately after attending the Panel or within 48 hours if not present.Social workers for the child will inform birth parents verbally of the Panel's recommendations within 24 hours if possible. Where appropriate the social worker will also tell the child.
Adoption Welfare Check-list The Adoption and Permanence Panel should carefully consider the following Adoption Welfare Checklist when considering a best interest decision for adoption or long term fostering.
- The child's ascertainable wishes and feelings regarding the decision (considered in the light of the child's age and understanding)
- The child's particular needs
- The likely effect on the child (throughout his life) of having ceased to be a member of the original family and become an adopted person
- The child's age, sex, background and any of the child's characteristics which the court or agency considers relevantAny harm (within the meaning of the Children Act 1989) which the child has suffered or is at risk of sufferingThe relationship which the child has with relatives, and with any other person in relation to whom the court or agency considers the relationship to be relevant, including:
- The likelihood of any such relationship continuing and the value to the child of its doing so
- The ability and willingness of any of the child's relatives, or of any such person, to provide the child with a secure environment in which the child can develop, and otherwise to meet the child's needs
- The wishes and feelings of any of the child's relatives, or of any such person, regarding the child.
Children's Guardians A Children's Guardian may be asked to attend the Panel in relation to the discussion of whether a child should be placed for adoption relating to a case in which they are involved and occasionally in relation to proposed placements if, for example, the child is already placed during proceedings with the family who wish to adopt the child e.g. foster carersChildren's Guardians may be invited to submit a short report for the Panel members to consider. This report should set out the Children's Guardian's concerns and questions and generally not be more than two sides. Any report submitted to the Panel becomes potentially disclosable within any Court proceedings.The Children's Guardian may attend the discussion along with the social workers managing the case, in order to listen to their response to Panel questions, make any comments s/he has and answer any questions from Panel members.Whilst Panel make their deliberations, the Children's Guardian will retire along with the social workers and will be present for the feedback from the Panel Chair to workers and to hear what recommendation will be made to the Agency Decision Maker. The Children's Guardian must understand that the Panel's role is to consider whether a child or children should be placed for adoption and to make a recommendation to the Agency Decision Maker. Panel is not in itself a decision making body.
You may also like
Adoption and Permanence Panel Membership
Page setting out the structure of the panel and the requirements of those who sit on the panel.Read more
Adopters attending panel
The Adoption and Permanency Panel feel it is important to give applicants the opportunity to be as fully involved as possible in the adoption process and welcomes applicants to attend. The decision making process with regards applications to adopt will not be affected whether applicants attend Adoption and Permanency Panel or not.Read more
- Child protection
- Youth Offending
- Children with Disabilities