David Holmes (Chief Executive) gives expert video advice on: What do I do if I am not approved for adoption? and more...
What is the adoption process?
It is quite a long and complex process. It needs to be quite long and complex. If you think about it, when a woman becomes pregnant, she is pregnant for nine months, so that whole process is quite a long process. The adoption process is similarly long and complex. It begins with finding information, perhaps being invited to an information day or an information evening at your local authority. After that, if you are still really interested in adoption, you may be invited to meet other adopters and go through some initial preparation work. After that you would be asked to fill out an application form to be an adopter, and then a home study process would begin which would probably involve 6-8 meetings with a social worker. That would be quite long, and intense conversations with the social worker that would really explore your motivation to adopt. After all of that, a report will be compiled which is a report about your suitability to adopt a child. That report would then be presented to an adoption panel which has a large independent element. The panel would consider all of that information and would make a recommendation on whether or not to approve you as an adopter. The adoption agency would then make a final decision, and then you would become an approved adopter.
What is an adoption agency?
Essentially there are two types of an adoption agency. You can either make an application to adopt through your local authority, through the adoption division of your local authority, or you can go to what's called a voluntary adoption agency which is an adoption agency which is run by the voluntary sector. You can either go to your local authority or you can go to your voluntary adoption agency. Lists of those agencies can be found, for example, through BAAF's website.
What checks will they agency make?
The agency will make a wide range of checks, and these checks are really important. It's a very significant thing to actually bring a child into your family, and the agency has to make sure that you're a fit person to adopt a child. So, the agency will do employment checks to check out your employment status by clarifying that you are employed by who you say you're employed by. They'll also do some education checks, financial checks, and some health checks. Very importantly, they'll do criminal record checks to check your criminal history if you have one. All of those checks will help to build up a picture about you as an individual and about the different aspects of your life. They may talk to significant people in your life, and they may take up specific references of people who know you. They may also talk to previous partners if there's been a previous relationship. They may talk to children in the family if there are birthed families, and will essentially just want to build up as much relevant information as they can.
What do I do if I am not approved for adoption?
If you're not approved in as much as if the adoption panel is minded to recommend that you not be approved as an adoptor, then you have a right to go to what's called the Independent Review mechanism, and what the Independent Review mechanism would do is they would review all of the paperwork again and they would either confirm or overturn the panel's recommendation. The final decision still rests with the agency.