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6.5.3 Identifying a Potential Placement for Approved Adopters


  1. Introduction
  2. Prospective Adopter Matching Plan
  3. Identifying Suitable Placements
  4. Other Options for Identifying Suitable Placements
  5. Support Visits to Prospective Adopters
  6. Procedure for Identifying Suitable Placements
  7. Inter-Agency Placements

1. Introduction

  1. The assessment and approval of prospective adopters is a skilled and time consuming task, and thus involves a costly human resources investment for the agency. It can also be a stressful process for the prospective adopter, involving considerable commitment in terms of their time, energy and emotions. It is therefore to the advantage of all concerned that ultimately the process results in the placement of a child;
  2. A successful outcome is more likely to be achieved if a child-focused approach is taken from the outset, with the process being informed, at all stages, by the needs of children waiting for placement. Prospective adopters who wait for long periods following approval to be matched with "the right child" are often found to have unrealistic expectations of the children needing placement, which results in them waiting for children who do not exist.

2. Prospective Adopter Matching Plan

Where a prospective adopter has been approved as suitable to adopt a child, a Prospective Adopter Matching Plan, must be prepared, in consultation with the prospective adopter, which includes:

  • Information about the duties of the adoption agency in respect of placements and reviews;
  • Information about the role of the prospective adopter in identifying a child for whom they would be an appropriate adopter;
  • Information about the process for making a representation (including a complaint); and
  • Any other matters that the agency consider relevant.

3. Identifying Suitable Placements

  1. In identifying a suitable placement for approved adopters, the first consideration will be whether they can provide a placement for a child on referral to the agency. All children on referral to the agency will be discussed at the adoption team's referral meetings held fortnightly, and possible links will be discussed during these meetings with prospective adopters approved by the agency, as well as those undergoing assessment;
  2. In some cases prospective adopters may have responded to targeted recruitment campaigns, or it may have been possible to make a link during an adoption referral meeting with a specific child early in the assessment process. In these cases the assessment may proceed with a view to placing a particular child, and the matching process will quickly follow on from the assessment and approval process.

4. Other Options for Identifying Suitable Placements

When no link with a child has been made at the time of approval, prospective adopters will be visited at least monthly following approval. Information about children available for placement, including those on referral from other agencies will be shared, although an inter-agency placement will not normally be endorsed during the first 3 months following approval. Other options for identifying a suitable placement will be discussed including:

  • Referral to One Adoption Yorkshire and Humber;
  • Access to family finding magazines / initiatives such as Be My Parent. Approved adopters may take active steps themselves to identify a suitable placement, responding to targeted recruitment initiated by other agencies.

5. Support Visits to Prospective Adopters

  1. The circumstances of approved adopters without an identified placement will be monitored during the monthly support visits. Prospective adopters should be encouraged to use the "waiting" time to increase their knowledge of adoption and the needs of children waiting for placement. When difficulties in identifying a suitable placement continue, the reasons for this should be explored openly. This will be particularly important if a number of placement have been suggested by the agency, but the prospective adopters have failed to respond. Opportunities to undertake further training or acquire practical experience with children should be explored as this may result in increased confidence and flexibility when considering possible placements;
  2. The Adoption Agency is required to review the approval of prospective adopters who have not had a child placed with them whenever they consider this necessary, but at least annually. (See Review and Termination of Approval of Prospective Adopters Procedure).

6. Procedure for Identifying Suitable Placements

  1. Following approval the adopter's social worker will undertake regular visits to the family at least monthly. A summary of the main issues discussed, including details of any proposed placements and the response given by the prospective adopter will be recorded on the file;
  2. The adopter's social worker will discuss and seek permission for the adopters' details to be forwarded to One Adoption Yorkshire and Humber at the time of approval. The referral will be designated as live unless a match is already being, or about to be actively pursued. The adoption social worker will follow up all enquiries generated through the Consortium, but will seek agreement from the Adoption Team Manager before proceeding with the matching process;
  3. If at any point it becomes apparent that it will not be possible to place a child with the prospective adopters, their social worker should consult with the Adoption Team Manager who will decide whether to undertake a review of approval.

7. Inter-Agency Placements

When a child on referral to another adoption agency is matched and placed with prospective adopter(s) approved by the East Riding Adoption Agency, the responsibility for meeting all the statutory requirements will rest with the child's agency. This includes responsibility for:

  • Making the decision that the child should be placed with the particular adopter(s); and
  • Assessing the need for adoption support services and preparing the adoption support plan;
  • Preparing the Placement Plan and placement agreement.
Whilst the processes will be similar to those outlined in East Riding procedures, and social workers can refer to the relevant in-house procedures for guidance at each stage, the procedures of the placing agency may differ in detail to East Riding procedures. When this is the case, the procedures of the placing agency should be adhered to.

The prospective adopters social worker's role in respect of an interagency placement is a facilitative one. It will involve:

  • Supplying the placing agency with relevant information and reports in respect of the prospective adopters;
  • Receiving relevant information and reports from the placing agency in respect of the child and ensuring the prospective adopters have copies or access to all necessary information and reports to enable them to make an informed decision;
  • Supporting the prospective adopters in making their decision by providing explanation of the information received and its implications where necessary;
  • Cooperating with the placing agency, when requested, in undertaking assessments and preparing reports.