Adoption Policy Review Group: phase one report

Report on phase one of a two-phase review to look at adoption law and practice, commissioned in April 2001.



1. Chapter 1 introduces the concept of a framework for developing permanence. The chart at the end of this annex is a possible framework for developing permanence and adoption and gives a framework a whole systems approach.
Explanatory Notes re "Framework for Developing Permanence"
C.1 - "Level and complexity
2. Pressures/Issues Relating to Child Protection/Drugs/Alcohol and impact they have. Need for additional resources for core frontline teams to provide framework for quality work.
C.2 - Resources for Core Functions
3. Methods of funding, eg, Sure Start, Change Fund, etc.
Criteria for success can depend on "competitions" between children requiring permanence and groups of children with more secure lifestyles. Project funding makes it difficult to fund core posts in family and children teams. Needs of children with and affected by disability need to be highlighted.
I.1 - Professional Training of Social Workers
5. Discussions need to take place with Educational and Academic bodies about the potential content of a third year in Social Work training both in relation to teaching input and practice development.
I.2 - Skills Development of Social Workers, Managers, Authorities and Key (Education; Health)
6. A balance is needed between local training/development and national frameworks for improving practice and management. Post qualifying training is important.
I.3 - Retention and Staff Recruitment
7. Recent reports from the Time Intervals Monitoring Group about the Hearing system and the Scottish Executive identify a shortfall in residential childcare and fostering fieldwork staff. Local authorities need to develop pro-active strategies.
I.4 - Support & Supervision for Staff
8. Managers need to look at case-load weightings, support for staff, the value of Practice Development/Senior Practitioner role, including the use of planning consultants. Involvement of Scottish Social Services Council in these issues.
I.5 - Focus for Children & Family Placement Teams
9. Managers should consider the need for balance between special teams, eg, family placement/long term teams and generic childcare teams. Need for clearly identified expertise. Consideration of links with natural partners in Health, Education and Psychology.
I.6 - Partnership/Support Other Agencies
10. Local authorities need to ensure skilled development of practitioners/managers in all disciplines, and Education and Health in particular. Training Development requirements need to be highlighted. Effective communications and links with Children's Hearing system and safeguarders need to be addressed.
I.7 - Support for Families
11. Social workers need skills and resources to prevent family breakdown and identify insecure attachments. Skilled assessment work and clear frameworks are needed.
I8 - Support for Communities
12. All agencies should support communities of interests (as well as geographic communities). Links with Health Improvement Fund and Social Regeneration Policies within community partnership are important. The aim should be to prevent 'looked after' children becoming marginalised.
1.9 - Analysis/Consultancy on Pressures in Local "System" - Workers & Agency
13. Use of expertise within existing teams and in external agencies should be considered.
P1 - Panel and Consortia
14. Authorities should address the role of the adoption panel. The panel could review and monitor outcomes and address inter-relations with stakeholders. The role and effectiveness of consortia need to be examined.
P2 - Full & Timeous Assessments
15. Shared and tested frameworks should be used which incorporate core factors and positive outcomes. The sub-group felt that work could be done quickly to utilise existing frameworks. This issue was felt to be a key "driver" in bringing about change.
O.1 - Better Decisions About Links/Placements with Families
16. See Chapters 1, 2 and 4.
O.2 - Better use/Support of People Currently Caring
17. This issue links to I.9 and O.4.
O.3 - Recruitment of People for Permanence
18. See Chapter 2.
O.4 - Post-Adoption Support
19. See Chapter 3.
Q.1 to Q.5 - Home, Residential Care, Foster Care, Adoption, Special Guardianship
20. The system identified above is about good childcare practice based on quality work leading to quality and timeous assessments and appropriate placements which meet the individual needs of individual children. The group felt that these components equally applied to children whose permanence needs could best be met by residential care/foster care or potentially the new special guardianship option proposed in the Adoption and Children Bill for England and Wales. It would also apply to long-term work that was done with families where it was felt in the child's interests that he or she should be placed either with parents or relatives.


VISION (V): V.1 Promote stability and security for children in the looked after system

CONTEXT (C): C.1 Level and complexity of individual need. Changes in society.
C.2 Proper resourcing of care functions and unintended consequences of resource allocation systems.





Professional training of social workers and other key workers. (I.1)

Inter-agency resource sharing/register. (new)

Better decisions about links/ placements with families. (O.1)

More children placed in placements appropriate to meet their needs. (Q.1)


Continuous professional development of social workers, managers and key staff (including Education, Health, Panels). (I.2)

Agency permanency panel. (new)
for children
for families
for matching (P.1)

Better use/support of people currently caring. (O.2)



Retention and staff recruitment. (I.3)

Effective recruitment of people for permanency. (O.3)



Foster Home (Q.3)

Special Guardian (Q.5)

Support and supervision for staff. (I.4)


Organisational development of "Children & Family" and Family Placement Teams. (I.5)

Full and timeous assessment. (P.2)

Post-adoption support arrangements for carers, children, adopted adults and birth families. (O.4)


Partnership/support from key agencies. (I.6)
Support for families. (I.7)
Support for communities. (I.8)

Analysis/consultancy on pressures in local system - workers and agency. (I.9)

E.1 Linked individual and aggregate management information systems.
E.2 "Smart" standards - linked to SCRC.
E.3 Effective and accessible feedback and communication systems.
E.4 Occupational standards set by SSSC.

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