Stage Two – the adoption panel

The adoption panel’s role is to make recommendations on the suitability of the prospective adopter and whether a child should be matched for adoption with them.

The Panel is chaired by an independent chairperson and is made up of at least five members (usually more). These include at least one experienced Social Worker, a medical advisor and independent members who have personal experience of adoption. Each Panel also has an agency advisor and a legal advisor and an elected member of the representative local authority.

The Panel will have considered your report and will seek to clarify any areas it feels necessary before making its recommendation about your suitability to adopt a child.

 The Panel makes a recommendation and you will be verbally informed of this by the Panel Chair on the day the Panel takes place. This recommendation, along with the minutes and your report presented to Panel, is then sent to the Agency Decision Maker who has 10 working days to make the decision about whether you are suitable to adopt. You will be informed of this by letter. If your application is approved, you will then become approved adopters and can be considered for the children who are waiting for adoption within NWAS.  A referral will also be made to the Adoption Register Wales and you will be given access to Link Maker which your Social Worker will discuss further and support you with.

 What could happen if there are problems?

Sometimes a Social Worker may obtain information that may cause the agency to doubt the suitability of prospective adopters to adopt. The Social Worker must give the prospective adopters support and advice and explain why the agency feels unable to support their application. The prospective adopters may accept this advice and withdraw their application or:

The prospective adopters may ask the adoption agency to submit a report (called the brief report) to panel for consideration. This only occurs in stage two of the process. The brief report will have details of the assessment so far and the reasons for considering why the application should not continue to a full assessment.

The prospective adopters will see the brief report and have 10 working days to submit their comments to the agency. The prospective adopters will be invited to the adoption panel.

When considering a brief report,

The Panel may:

If approval to adopt is not given

If the Agency Decision Maker considers that the prospective adopters are not suitable to adopt a child, the agency must:

 What are the options?

 At this stage, the prospective adopters could:

(a) Accept the decision of the agency

The agency will write to the prospective adopters to formally notify them of the decision and the reasons for it; or

(b) Refer back to the adoption panel

If the prospective adopters notify the adoption agency within 40 working days, their case may be referred back to the adoption panel.  Panel can consider the case in the light of any representations the prospective adopters may make and make a recommendation.  This recommendation again is sent to the Agency Decision Maker for consideration; or

(c) Independent Review Mechanism (IRM)

Prospective adopters may request a review of the qualifying determination by writing to the IRM. In this case, the adoption agency must provide the IRM with all the relevant documents within 10 days of being notified by the IRM administrator.

The prospective adopters are invited to attend the panel. The IRM can make a recommendation which is not binding on the adoption agency but will be considered by the Agency Decision Maker.

If you’re interested in adoption, need additional support, or just want to ask us some questions, we’d love to hear from you.

You can also speak to an adoption worker for an informal chat, and we can then send you an information pack.

0800 085 0774