National Care Standards: Adoption Agencies: Revised March 2005

National Care Standards: Adoption Agencies: Revised March 2005 Edition

1-12 Services for children, young people and adults who were adopted as children

1 Choosing adoptive parents
2 Your adoption plan
3 Getting your views across
4 Being sure of what's happening
5 Choosing your new family
6 Moving in
7 Keeping in touch
8 After you move in
9 Getting help
10 Accessing records
11 Getting information about your birth parents
12 Contacting your birth family

Choosing adoptive parents

Standard 1
Your adoptive family will be chosen only after a full and thorough assessment of their suitability to care for you and to promote your interests throughout your life.

1 You can be confident that the agency carries out a full and thorough assessment of how suitable the adopter will be.

2 You know the agency makes all necessary checks about the adopter, including local authority, criminal records, health checks and references.

Your adoption plan

Standard 2
You can be confident that the agency makes sure your adoption plan is put into practice as soon as possible.

1 You can be confident that your report for the adoption panel is completed within 12 weeks of a formal care review recommending adoption.

2 You know that the agency will search for a new family quickly. A local authority agency will look outside its own area if necessary.

3 You know that the agency will look at all available families who have been prepared and can meet your needs, to find the family that is most suitable.

Getting your views across

Standard 3
Your views about adoption are discussed with you and you are involved as much as possible, and as your age allows, in the process of finding an adoptive family.

1 You can say how you feel about adoption as an option for you and your views are recorded and taken into account.

2 You can talk about what kind of family you want and your views are taken into account when the agency looks for a family.

3 If you have difficulty communicating, skilled and experienced staff will help you to use specialist equipment if you need it and to express your views. You can have help with interpreting, if you need it.

4 If you have brothers and sisters the adoption agency will try to place you together, unless this is not in your interests. If separation is necessary, you are told the reasons and these are clearly recorded.

Being sure of what's happening

Standard 4
You are helped to understand what is happening during the adoption process and you can talk about how you feel.

1 Adoption agency staff answer your questions fully so that you understand what is happening now and what will happen in the future. You should feel that you are being listened to and involved in the adoption process, as much as your age allows.

2 If the agency does not act in line with your expressed views, you are told the reasons and these are clearly recorded.

3 You receive information about your new family, for example photos, to help you ask questions.

4 You can go to the adoption panel if you wish, and if it is in your best interests.

Choosing your new family

Standard 5
You are confident that the agency goes through a proper decision-making process in choosing your new family.

1 The decision about your new family is based on good quality information about your needs. This includes your family background, health, education, social and emotional development, culture and heritage.

2 The family that is chosen for you reflects as closely as possible your ethnic and cultural background and your faith. Other important things that are taken into consideration are where the family live, family composition, lifestyle, qualities of your prospective adopter and your views.

3 You know that the adoption agency will look thoroughly at your health needs and make sure that your prospective adopters have the information to help them understand what effect these may have on you. If you need any equipment, the agency makes sure your prospective adopters know this and how to access it.

4 You can be confident that the adoption agency works effectively with services such as social work, education and health.

5 You can be confident that any decisions about adoption and matching children with families are in line with up-to-date research and best practice.

6 At an appropriate age, you receive from the adoption agency (as far as possible) your full birth history and genetic history to make sure that you have the information you need for a healthy adult life and possible future parenthood.

Moving in

Standard 6
Your move to your new family will be properly planned and will be completed as soon as possible and at a pace that takes account of your age and needs.

1 You can use information, meetings and discussion so that you begin to know your new family quite well before moving to live with them.

2 You meet your new family in a place that is familiar to you and with someone you feel comfortable with.

3 Once your new family is found, the agency works to make sure that you move to your new family as quickly as possible. The agency will do everything possible to make sure that there are no unnecessary delays in court.

Keeping in touch

Standard 7
You have contact with people who have been important to you in the past, if this is in your interests.

1 If it is in your interests, and with your adoptive parent's consent, the agency makes arrangements for contact (direct or indirect) between you and your birth family, and other significant people from the time before you were adopted. Your views, and the views of your birth family and your adoptive family, are considered over the years, as they may change over time.

2 If you have brothers or sisters living elsewhere, the agency arranges for you to keep in touch with them and, where appropriate, maintain direct contact.

After you move in

Standard 8
The agency involved in planning your adoption will support you after you have moved in with your new family.

1 After you start to live with your new family, the adoption agency continues to support you or makes arrangements for you to be supported.

2 You can be confident that, if there are difficulties with your new family, the agency will make sure that help is available without delay and for as long as it is needed.

3 You know what support the agency can offer you in the future and how to contact the agency.

Getting help

Standard 9
You can be confident that the agency will identify any extra help that you or your adoptive family might need so that you can realise your potential. If you have difficulties arising from your adoption, the agency will advise you where you can get help.

1 You know that the agency will work to make sure that your adoptive family receives help when they need it, including specific financial help.

2 You know that the adoption agency provides and arranges a full range of adoption services for you after you have been adopted.

3 You know that the agency, working in consultation with your adoptive parents, gives you information to help you to understand why you are separated from your birth family and why you are adopted.

4 The agency provides you with continued access to a range of services, including counselling.

5 Where appropriate, the agency provides you with access to services, in addition to the help and support given by adoptive parents, such as information, advice and financial support. These may also include counselling and specialist services that understand and take account of adoption issues.

6 If you can no longer live with your adopted family, the agency works to find the most satisfactory solution as quickly as possible, taking account of your views.

7 If you no longer live with your adopted family and it is in your interests to stay in contact, the agency arranges this, if you and your adoptive family wish it.

Accessing records

Standard 10
If you are aged 16 or over, you can have access to agency adoption records (with the exception of confidential information provided by or about others).

1 You know that agency records have accurate and full information in line with regulations and guidance.

2 If there are no records available, the agency will tell you why.

3 You have relevant information available about your birth family, including information about your birth family's ability to meet your needs, and where possible medical information and advice.

4 You know that your family history, including photographs and letters, is gathered and stored carefully by the agency (including any health information that is available). You can be confident that this information is kept private.

Getting information about your birth parents

Standard 11
You have help and advice (including counselling) available to support you in finding out about your birth family and other adoption issues.

1 You receive a written acknowledgement of your enquiry and information within five working days. Information provided includes the services offered and the level of agency fees, contact numbers for other agencies and services and a copy of the agency's complaints procedure.

2 You are offered an interview by the agency within 14 days of the agency receiving a request for written information about your birth family. You are given information about your other rights to access records, including your original birth certificate, and the court records.

3 You can negotiate with the agency about how a search is carried out if you want.

4 You are offered a choice of contact by the agency, for example with a specialist social worker or a counsellor with specialist knowledge and skills. If you want, the agency may put you in touch with volunteers who were adopted and who can share their experiences. The agency may also put you in touch with your birth family if you want.

5 You know that the agency's social worker and the social worker's manager are available to meet you if you want.

Contacting your birth family

Standard 12
If you want to make contact with your birth family, you will be able to get advice and support as soon as possible.

1 When you make an enquiry, you are treated sensitively, with respect and dignity.

2 You receive advice, mediation and support from the adoption agency so that you get the help you need from relevant services.

3 You receive access to support groups and organisations from the agency.

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