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6.7.1 Reviews of Children’s Cases

Contents

  1. Arrangements for Adoption Reviews
  2. Convening and Chairing Adoption Reviews
  3. Timescales for Adoption Reviews
  4. Reports for Adoption Reviews
  5. The Conduct of Adoption Reviews


1. Arrangements for Adoption Reviews

Where a local authority has authority to place a child for adoption either through a Placement Order or parental consent, the child continues to be looked after and therefore should be subject to Looked After Reviews under the Care Planning Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations, 2010 until the child is placed for adoption. However the child should also be the subject of Adoption Reviews under the Adoption Agencies Regulations. This means that where the child is authorised to be placed for adoption but not yet placed, both sets of regulations will apply.

The child's social worker should provide written information about the intended arrangements for Adoption Reviews, to the child (depending on age and understanding), to the prospective adopters (usually this will be part of the Adoption Placement Plan), and to any other person considered relevant, such as the child's parents.


2. Convening and Chairing Adoption Reviews

So far as reasonably practicable, all Adoption Reviews will be chaired by the child's Children's Independent and Safeguarding Reviewing Officer.

The adoption social worker, in conjunction with the Children's Independent and Safeguarding Reviewing Officer, will invite relevant persons to Adoption Reviews.

There is no requirement to invite birth parents to Adoption Reviews or to consult them prior to a Review, but the child's social worker, in conjunction with the Children's Independent and Safeguarding Reviewing Officer, may consider that their views should be ascertained and reported to an Adoption Review or that the parents should be invited in appropriate cases.

In relation to the requirement to provide counselling for the child and report on the child’s wishes to Adoption Panel as part of Child’s Permanence Report, the child’s preferred method of communication should be known. There should be no assumption that a child is unable to communicate. The CISRO should advise the child about his or her right to appoint an advocate where they have problems or concerns (for further information please see Advocacy Service for Children in Care Procedure.


3. Timescales for Adoption Reviews

The timescales for holding Adoption Reviews will depend on whether the child has been placed for adoption.

3.1 Reviews of Children not yet Placed for Adoption

The first Review should take place within 3 months after the local authority obtained authority to place the child for adoption:

3.2 Adoption Reviews of Children who have been Placed for Adoption

Where the child has been placed for adoption, arrangements must be made so that an Adoption Review is held:

  • Within 4 weeks of the placement;
  • Not more than 3 months after the first review unless an application for an adoption order has been made;
  • At least every 6 months thereafter until an adoption order has been made or the adoptive placement ends.

Where there are concerns that the placement is at risk of breaking down, an Adoption Review must be convened immediately.

Where a placement has been made with parental consent and notice is received that such consent has been withdrawn, an Adoption Review must be convened immediately and urgent legal advice should be taken as to whether there are grounds for an application for an Emergency Protection Order/Interim Care Order (if no Care Order exists) and/or a Placement Order.

Unless there are exceptional circumstances, for example child protection concerns and/or significant risk, no decision to move a child from a placement shall take place without a formal review having taken place. In such circumstances, legal advice should be sought as soon as possible and prior to any action being taken.

3.3 All Cases

The child's social worker must inform the Children's Independent and Safeguarding Reviewing Officer of any failure to make arrangements agreed at a review or any significant changes in the child's circumstances at a review, so that a decision can be made as to the need to convene a further Review.


4. Reports for Adoption Reviews   

The child's social worker will prepare a report for the Adoption Review, incorporating the views of the child, the prospective adopters and the prospective adopters' link worker (where the child is placed), the birth parents or family members (in appropriate cases) and any other relevant person (for example health visitor or teacher), which should be circulated prior to the meeting.


5. The Conduct of Adoption Reviews

The Adoption Review will consider the following areas:

  1. Whether it remains satisfied that the child should be placed for adoption;
  2. The child's needs, welfare and development, and whether any changes need to be made to meet the child's needs or assist his/her development;
  3. The existing arrangements for contact and whether they should continue or be altered;
  4. Where the child has been placed for adoption, evidence of the child's attachment to the prospective adopters and the arrangements in relation to the exercise of Parental Responsibility for the child and whether they should continue or be altered;
  5. The arrangements for the provision of adoption support services for the adoptive family and whether there should be any re-assessment of the need for those services;
  6. In consultation with the appropriate agencies, the arrangements for assessing and meeting the child's health care and educational needs as a Previously Looked After Child;
  7. Any concerns;
  8. Outstanding Court proceedings;
  9. Where the child is placed for adoption, the timing of the adoption application;
  10. The timing of the 'Later Life Letter' from the child’s social worker being given to the prospective adopter (this will usually be within 10 working days of the adoption ceremony, i.e. the ceremony to celebrate the making of the adoption order);
  11. The responsibility for providing Court reports;
  12. The frequency of future reviews and the date for the next Review.

Where the child is the subject of a Placement Order and has not been placed for adoption by the time of the first six month Review, the Review must also:

  1. Establish why the child has not been placed for adoption and consider what further steps it should take to arrange for the child to be placed for adoption; and
  2. Consider whether it remains satisfied that the child should be placed for adoption.

The Children's Independent and Safeguarding Reviewing Officer must ensure that the views of the child are properly understood by the Review and taken into account.

Where the child wishes to take proceedings on their own account, for example to apply for the revocation of a Placement Order, the Children's Independent and Safeguarding Reviewing Officer must assist the child to obtain legal advice or establish whether an appropriate adult is able and willing to provide legal advice and/or bring the proceedings on the child's behalf.

The Children's Independent and Safeguarding Reviewing Officer must also ensure that anyone responsible for implementing a decision taken at the review is identified, and that any failure to review the case or implement decisions made at a Review is brought to the attention of senior managers within the agency.

Any decision made at the Review should be notified in writing to the child (depending on age and understanding), the prospective adopters (where the child has been placed for adoption) and any other person considered relevant by the child's social worker and the Children's Independent and Safeguarding Reviewing Officer, such as the birth parents.

The information obtained during an Adoption Review, any decisions made at the Review and the minutes of any meeting arranged to consider any aspect of the Adoption Review must be placed on the child's adoption record.

End