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6.8.2 Assessment of Need for Adoption Support Services and Preparation of Adoption Support Plan

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter should be read in conjunction with Assessing the Support Needs of Adoptive Families (2008).

Please see relevant section of Forms Library to access the required template.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Considerations when Undertaking Assessments
  3. Local Authority Discretion
  4. Outcomes following Assessment
  5. Assessment and Support Plan Procedure
  6. The Adoption Panel
  7. Inter-Agency Placements
  8. Assessments undertaken in all other Circumstances
  9. Outcomes following Adoption Panel Decisions


1. Introduction

  1. The regulations require that an assessment of need for adoption support services must be undertaken:
    • At the request of any individual who may be entitled to receive services
    • At the point that an adoption agency consider that a proposed placement of a child with a particular prospective adopter(s) should proceed. The assessment should address the needs of the adoptive child, the prospective adopter(s) and any children of the prospective adopters.
  2. The duty to undertake an assessment of need for adoption support services in respect of proposed placement rests with the local authority placing the child for adoption, whether or not the prospective adopter(s) live in the administrative area of the local authority concerned. However, a local authority may request the assistance of another local authority in undertaking its duties. East Riding of Yorkshire Council may, subject to negotiation, provide adoption support services on behalf of a placing agency, or ask another local authority to provide adoption support services on its behalf. All commissioning arrangements should be underpinned by a written agreement. The placing authority's responsibility for the provision of adoption support services, other than for financial support agreed before an adoption order is made, ends after a period of 3 years from the date the adoption order was made.


2. Considerations when Undertaking Assessments

  1. In undertaking the assessment the local authority must have regard to the following matters, where relevant:
    • The needs of the person being assessed and how they might be met
    • The needs of the adoptive family and how these might be met
    • The needs, including developmental needs of the adoptive child and how these might be met
    • The parenting capacity of the adoptive parent
    • Wider family and environmental factors
    • In the case of a child matched or placed for adoption, the circumstances that led to the child being adopted.
    • Any previous assessment of the needs of the person for adoption support services

If appropriate the person must be interviewed, and if the person is an adopted child his or her adoptive parents must be interviewed. Health and Education Services must be consulted as part of the assessment if it seems that the person needs services from them. Following completion of the assessment a written report of the assessment must be prepared.

  1. The assessment of need for adoption support services will be based on the same principles as, and reflect the format of, assessments undertaken in accordance with the Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families. The Practice Guidance should be consulted for comprehensive guidance on how to apply CiN Framework principles to the assessment of the support needs of adoptive families. However the assessment will need to take account of the fact that the child is a member of the adoptive family but also has the heritage of having been born into their birth family. The past and current involvement of members of the birth family in the child's life, and their impact on the child will need to be incorporated into any assessment of needs for adoption support services.


3. Local Authority Discretion

  1. The local authority has the discretion, if it considers a limited assessment would be appropriate, to carry out the assessment of need for adoption support services only with reference to a particular service requested by the individual. It may also undertake the assessment at the same time as undertaking any other assessment of needs in accordance with other legislation, e.g. Children Act 1989; Carers and Disabled Children Act 2000. It will be appropriate therefore to exercise a degree of flexibility when undertaking the assessment to ensure that different assessment activity is co-ordinated and duplication of effort is avoided. Whilst the adoption team will have overall responsibility for undertaking all assessments of need for prescribed adoption support services, other professionals involved with the family or individual should contribute to the assessment when appropriate.


4. Outcomes following Assessment

  1. Following the assessment, the local authority must decide whether it proposes to provide adoption support services. If it proposes to provide services on more than one occasion, and the services are not limited to the provision of advice or information, the local authority must prepare an adoption support plan. It must also nominate a person will be responsible for monitoring the provision of services in accordance with the plan
  2. The service user must be notified of the proposed decision, and given the opportunity to make representations. The notification must include:
    • A statement as to the person's needs for adoption support services
    • Whether the local authority proposes to provide him with adoption support services
    • Details of the services which it is proposed to provide
    • Information relating to any assessment of need for financial support (see also separate procedure Provision of Financial Support to Adopters and Special Guardians)

The notification must be accompanied by a draft adoption support plan, where relevant.

  1. The local authority can make the final decision whether to provide adoption support services once the service user has made representations, or has notified the local authority that s/he/they are satisfied with the proposals and draft plan (where relevant), or the time for making representations has elapsed. The service user must be notified of the decision and the reasons for the decision. The notification must include details of the adoption support plan, and the name of the person nominated to monitor it, and information about any financial support to be provided (see also separate procedure "Provision of Financial Support to Adopters and Special Guardians")


5. Assessment and Support Plan Procedure

  1. Assessments carried out at the point that a placement of a child with a particular prospective adopter(s) is proposed.

    The assessment of need for adoption support services will be carried out jointly by the prospective adopters' social worker and the child's social worker. The prospective adopters' social worker will take overall responsibility for coordinating the assessment, and for preparing an adoption support plan, if required.
  1. The child's social worker will focus on the needs of the adoptive child, drawing on any previous assessment of need and the current LAC health plan, personal education plan and assessment and progress record. The adoptive child's current carers and the adoptive child, if of sufficient age and understanding, should contribute to the assessment. Details of the assessment should be recorded. When completed, a copy of the assessment should be forwarded to the social worker for the prospective adopter(s).
  2. The prospective adopter's social worker will discuss with the adoptive family the support needs identified for the adoptive child, and how these might be met. This discussion should identify what support services the prospective adopters, and any children in the family will, need in order to facilitate the placement of the child with the family, including financial support. Details of the assessment will be recorded. When a need for financial support has been identified the separate procedure "Provision of Financial Support to Adopters and Special Guardians" should also be consulted.
  3. The prospective adopter's social worker will prepare a draft adoption support plan. If a need for services from a health or education authority has been identified, the relevant authority must be consulted and a copy of the draft plan sent to them, before finalising the plan.
  4. The assessment, and the adoption support plan where relevant, must be forwarded to the Adoption Team Manager, who, in consultation with the Adoption Support Adviser, must decide:
    • Whether any adoption support services should be provided
    • If services are to be provided, details of the services to be provided.
    • Whether a request should be made to any other agency (e.g. health or education authority, other local authority or authorised service provider) to provide adoption support services.
  5. Following the decision of the Adoption Team Manager / Adoption Support Adviser, the social worker for the prospective adopters will ensure that the proposals for adoption support are included in the adoption placement report for the adoption panel, and where relevant, a copy of the draft adoption support plan is attached to the report.


6. The Adoption Panel

  1. The Adoption Panel Administrator will usually arrange for the prospective adopters to be notified of the proposed decision regarding the provision of adoption support services at the same time they are given notification that the proposed placement is to be referred to the adoption panel (see Terms of Reference of the Adoption Panel Procedure). A copy of the draft adoption support plan, where relevant, will accompany the notification. The prospective adopter(s) will be advised that they can make representations in respect of the proposals for adoption support in addition to any observations they may make in respect of the adoption placement report within 10 working days of receiving the notification.
  2. Following consideration of the proposed placement by the adoption panel, and agency decision that the placement can go ahead, a final decision regarding the provision of adoption support services will be made by the Adoption Team Manager in consultation with the Adoption Support Adviser, and taking account of any guidance given by the adoption panel.
  1. The Adoption Panel Administrator will arrange for written notification of the agency's decision in respect of the provision of adoption support services to be sent to the prospective adopters at the same time as they are sent notification of the placement decision. A copy of the final adoption support plan should accompany the notification.
  2. A copy of the adoption support plan must be sent to the Children’s Independent Safeguarding and Reviewing Officer (CISRO).


7. Inter-Agency Placements

  1. When a child from East Riding of Yorkshire is placed with prospective adopters who have not been approved by East Riding of Yorkshire Adoption Agency, the child's adoption link worker will be responsible for co-ordinating the assessment of need for adoption support services, and preparing the adoption support plan, where relevant, liaising with and seeking assistance from the prospective adopter's social worker as appropriate.

  2. When a child from another authority is placed with prospective adopters approved by East Riding of Yorkshire Adoption Agency, the prospective adopter(s) social worker will, when requested to do so, assist the placing agency in undertaking an assessment of the adoption support needs of the adoptive family and in the preparation of an adoption support plan. However overall responsibility for the provision of adoption support services, including decision-making and notification remains with the placing agency.
  3. The Adoption Team Manager, in consultation with the Adoption support Adviser, may in appropriate cases, agree that:
    • East Riding should provide adoption support services on behalf of a placing agency
    • Another local authority will provide adoption support services on behalf of East Riding

And will be responsible for negotiating a written agreement with the other local authority setting out the services to be provided and any conditions, e.g. reimbursement of costs which are to apply.


8. Assessments undertaken in all other Circumstances

The adoption support worker will usually be responsible for undertaking assessments of need for adoption support services which have arisen after an adoption order has been made.

  1. Following receipt of a referral for adoption support services, the Adoption Team Manager will
    • check that the subject of the referral is eligible to receive a service, and whether another local authority has any responsibility to provide services
    • decide the extent of the assessment required
    • in appropriate cases, allocate the case to the adoption support worker to undertake an assessment
  2. In cases where it would appear that another Local Authority is already providing services, or appears to have a duty to provide adoption support services, the Local Authority will be contacted to clarify and agree roles and responsibilities. The Adoption Team Manager, in consultation with the Adoption Support Adviser, will decide whether a formal request should be made for the other authority to undertake an assessment of need or to review the provision of services.
  3.  Following allocation of the case, the Adoption Support Worker will contact the adoptive family or individual concerned. The assessment will be completed and details of the assessment will be recorded.
  4. Permission should be sought from the service user to contact and obtain information from anyone who may be able to assist in the assessment, including health and education professionals involved with an adoptive child and his/her family.
  5. When the referral involves an adoptive child placed by an agency other than East Riding of Yorkshire and adopted more than 3 years previously, the placing agency should be contacted and asked to supply information including:
    • the adoption placement (or matching) report
    • the assessment of need for adoption support services carried out at the time of the placement,
    • the adoption support plan (if made) and the outcome of any subsequent review of the plan.

A copy of the service user's signed consent should accompany the letter.

  1. Following completion of the assessment, the adoption support worker will prepare a draft adoption support plan, if required. If a need for services from a health or education authority has been identified, the relevant authority must be consulted and a copy of the draft plan sent to them, before finalising the plan. 

  2. The assessment, and the adoption support plan where relevant, must be forwarded to the Adoption Team Manager, who, in consultation with the Adoption Support Advisor, must decide:
    • Whether any adoption support services should be provided
    • If services are to be provided, details of the services to be provided.
    • Whether a request should be made to any other agency (e.g. health or education services, other local authority or authorised service provider) to provide adoption support services.


9. Outcomes following Adoption Panel Decisions

  1. Following the decision of the Adoption Team Manager /Adoption Support Adviser, the adoption support worker will arrange for the service user to be notified of the proposed decision regarding the provision of adoption support services. A copy of the draft adoption support plan, where relevant, must accompany the notification. The service user will be advised that s/he/they can make representations in respect of the proposals for adoption support within 10 working days of receiving the notification.
  2. A final decision regarding the provision of adoption support services will be made by the Adoption Team Manager in consultation with the Adoption Support Adviser, having considered any representations made by the service user, or following notification that the service user is satisfied with the proposals, or after the expiry of the period of time for making representations.
  3. The Adoption Support Worker will arrange for written notification of the agency's decision in respect of the provision of adoption support services to be sent to the service user. The notification will include reasons for the decision. When the service user is a child and it is considered that the child is not of sufficient age and understanding to receive the notification, or that it would not be appropriate to send the notification to him/her, the notification will be sent to his/ her adoptive parent or other appropriate adult.

End