Regulation 6 - Functions of the adoption panel
Question 6: Do you think anything else needs to be added to Regulation 6?
Although the majority of responses focussed mainly on how the views of children and birth parents should be made known to the adoption panel, several respondents commented on the requirement for the panel to meet with the prospective adopters before making a recommendation as to their suitability to be adoptive parents. Two respondents suggested that the panel should also be able to make recommendations about reviewing adopters' approval after a particular period of time if a child has not been placed with them.
Question 7: Do you agree that the role of Adoption and Fostering Panels in relation to permanence plans for children should be covered in guidance instead of by regulation?
The majority of respondents agreed that this issue should be covered in guidance.
Question 8: Is the duty contained in section 14(4)(b) sufficient to give effect to the APRG recommendation or should a requirement be created whereby the adoption agency ascertains the wishes of the child and pass the information to the adoption panel?
Six of the respondents (out of a total of 12) felt that the duty contained in section 14(4)(b) of the 2007 Act was sufficient to give effect to the APRG recommendation that children and young people should have the right to make representations to the panel and/or attend them. The other six respondents were of the view that the section 14 duties should be set out in detail.
Question 9: If a requirement should be created should it be extended to cover birth parents?
Eight respondents (out of a total of ten) agreed that if a requirement was created for the views of children and young people to be ascertained by the adoption agency the requirement should be extended to birth parents.
Question 10: Should the definition of "parent" in Regulations 6(4) and (9) be opened up to include parents whose PRR have been removed by a permanence order with authority for the child to be adopted?
The majority of responses were of the view that the definition should not be opened up to include parents whose PRR have been removed by a permanence order with authority for the child to be adopted.
Scottish Government response/action
Regulation 6 has been adjusted to require the panel to give the prospective adopter the opportunity to meet with the panel to discuss the matter of suitability (or continuing suitability) to be an adoptive parent. The role of the Adoption and Fostering Panels in relation to permanence plans for children will be covered in guidance. The requirements of section 14 of the Act apply to courts or adoption agencies when making decisions and not to the role of the adoption panel. A new Regulation 12 has been added which reinforces the requirements of section 14 and also requires an adoption agency to consult and take into account the views of the child's parents or guardians if their whereabouts are known before referring the child's case to the adoption panel.
New Regulations 9-11 have been added to provide a system for reviewing the approval of prospective adopters. Regulation 9 carries over the right (Regulation 11 in the consultation draft) of prospective adopters to request a review, whilst Regulation 10 introduces an automatic review after 2 years where no child has been placed with the prospective adopter or where there are concerns about the child's welfare.