National Care Standards: Adoption Agencies: Revised March 2005

National Care Standards: Adoption Agencies: Revised March 2005 Edition

Annex A Glossary

Adoption agency

A local authority, voluntary or independent service responsible for the recruitment, assessment, approval and training of adopters. Local authorities acting as adoption agencies and registered adoption services (previously approved adoption societies) as mentioned in section 2(11)(b) of the Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act 2001 and registered under Part 1 of that Act.

Adoption panel

A panel to consider plans for children, to consider whether or not to approve prospective adopters and to match children with prospective adopters.


A person assisting children in putting forward their views or making their case on their behalf.

Agency decision-maker

The person in an agency who makes the final agency decisions about plans for children, approval of adopters and matching after the adoption panel has made its recommendations.


Work to determine the needs of a child and/or their family. Also, work to determine whether a person should be approved as an adopter.


A child can be 'looked after' or adopted until the age of 18.


Arrangements to allow someone, for example a birth parent, to keep in touch with a child. It can be direct - meeting face to face - or indirect - by post or telephone or through another person. If a court makes a formal order for contact, this is called a contact order.

External manager

The person or group of people, sometimes a board or committee, responsible for the work of the agency but not involved in day-to-day management.


An optional court application by a local authority before an adoption.If granted, it removes all parental responsibilities and rights from birth parents and gives them to the authority.


The process of linking an individual child or children with a particular adoptive family who can best meet their needs.


A child may be placed away from home by a local authority or adoption agency. For example, a child must have a placement with a relative, a foster carer, prospective adopters, or in a residential home or school. In adoption, placement is the stage when an adoption agency places a child with the prospective adopters.

Post-adoption services

Services available to the adopted child, the adoptive family and birth families after a child has been placed.

Prospective adoptive parents

Individuals who have expressed an interest in adoption or who are in the process of application, assessment or approval.

Relinquishing parents

Birth parents who give their child up for adoption.

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