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National Care Standards: Adoption Agencies: Revised March 2005

National Care Standards: Adoption Agencies: Revised March 2005 Edition


13-17 Services for birth families

13 Making decisions
14 Being heard
15 Getting help and advice
16 Gathering information
17 Contact arrangements

Making decisions

Standard 13
The agency treats you with respect, listens to you and makes sure that you have access to full information.

1 You receive counselling and other services from the agency, even if you do not agree with the plan or sign an agreement.

2 You are helped by the agency to understand the emotional and legal effects of adoption and of the alternatives to adoption.

3 You are told by the agency about your right to make representations and complaints and who can help you do this.

4 Wherever possible, the agency puts you in touch with a social worker with specialist skills and knowledge who is not the social worker for your child.

Being heard

Standard 14
When adoption is identified as the plan for your child, your views about your child's future will be taken into account.

1 You are helped to record your views or to have someone speak on your behalf.

2 Where your views differ from the plan for your child, these views are recorded accurately and in full.

3 You are given information about which adoption panels and review meetings you are able to attend and their purpose.

4 If possible, the agency takes account of your views in the choice of a new family.

5 Your views on the placing of your child's brothers and sisters or the nature of contact between them are taken into account.

6 Your views regarding the religious and cultural upbringing of your child are taken into account.

7 You may continue to have direct or indirect contact with your adopted child if this is in the child's interests.

Getting help and advice

Standard 15
You receive help and advice when you need it.

1 The agency offers you help and counselling before you sign any formal agreement. You are made aware of how you can get help at a later date.

2 The agency makes sure that you have access to information, counselling, advice and mediation services.

3 The agency advises you about support services and information exchanges (including messages, updates, photographs and school reports) that are available to you once an adoption order is made. It also gives you information about how to get advocacy and legal advice.

4 You know that any brothers and sisters of your adopted child have access to the full range of counselling, advocacy and practical supports.

Gathering information

Standard 16
You have access to all relevant information and records that form part of the adoption process and can choose to be involved in gathering information for your child.

1 The adoption agency gives you full information as soon as possible, in a language and format that is easy for you to use. You are told what is happening at each stage of the process.

2 You see the reports that the adoption panel considers (with the exception of confidential information provided by or about others).

3 You will normally have the chance to meet your child's adoptive family unless it has been clearly established that it is not in the child's best interests to do so.

4 You know that the information gathered by the agency before the adoption is full and comprehensive. The agency gathers such information, for example photographs, medical and family histories, in a sensitive way.

5 You can play a part in making sure that the information gathered before and after adoption is full, accurate and balanced and kept up to date.

6 You know that the agency may ask other members of your family for information before adoption and in order to keep it up to date after your child is adopted.

Contact arrangements between you and your child

Standard 17
You can be confident that all contact arrangements will be based on the best interests of your child.

1 You have a written agreement made at the time of the placement. This shows what information is available, how it is exchanged and the form of future contact.

2 The adoption agency makes sure that your wishes are taken into account when contact arrangements are made.

3 If it is consistent with the best interests of your child, and agreed by the adoptive parents, you are offered written information about your child's progress regularly, as agreed between you and the adopters.

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