ADOPTION AGENCY STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

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1 ADOPTION AGENCY STATEMENT OF PURPOSE SIGNED BY: CATHY SHELTON (RESPONSIBLE PERSON) ASSISTANT DIRECTOR CHILDREN & YOUNG PEOPLE DATE: MARTIN SADLER SERVICE MANAGER ADOPTION SERVICES: DATE: APPROVED BY TRUSTEES GOVERNING BODY: 6 th June 2006 LAST REVIEWED: May 2010 APPROVED: June 2010 DATE OF NEXT REVIEW: June 2011 Adoption Statement of Purpose Reviewed May 2010 Page 1 of 1

2 This Statement of Purpose has been produced to supply information for:- Local Authorities and placing agencies Prospective Adopters Approved Adopters Children and Young People Birth Parents and Relatives Any member of the public who is interested in the mission, function or operation of Nugent Care Adoption Service Any comments about the Statement of Purpose should be addressed in the first instance to:- Mr Martin Sadler, Service Manager Adoption Services Team Nugent Care 6 Chain Lane St Helens WA11 9RA Telephone: Fax: Adoption Statement of Purpose Reviewed May 2010 Page 2 of 2

3 CONTENTS INTRODUCTION 4 GOVERNANCE 4 THE OBJECTIVES OF NUGENT CARE ADOPTION SERVICE 5 PRINCIPLES UNDERLYING THE SERVICE 6 OUR FUNCTIONS 7 THE SERVICES WE OFFER 8 WHO ARE THE CHILDREN WE PLACE? 8 CRITERIA FOR ADOPTERS 9 MAIN CONTACTS 10 ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURE 12 STAFFING INFORMATION 13 ADOPTION PANEL 14 MONITORING AND EVALUATION 14 PROCESS FOR RECRUITING AND APPROVING PROSPECTIVE ADOPTERS 15 COMPLAINTS 16 Adoption Statement of Purpose Reviewed May 2010 Page 3 of 3

4 STATEMENT OF PURPOSE As required under the Adoption National Minimum Standards and the Voluntary Adoption Agencies Regulations 2005 INTRODUCTION Nugent Care has a history dating back to the 1850 s when Fr James Nugent responded to the poverty and appalling conditions facing many children in Liverpool at that time. Nugent Care has developed over the years and now offers a diverse range of services for children and vulnerable adults. Nugent Care has been involved in finding families through adoption since 1917 and had built up a wide range of experience in the recruitment and assessment of applicants and the placement and support of children. In addition Nugent Care has also developed a specialism in assessing applicants for inter-country adoption. The Head Office of Nugent Care is based in Liverpool with the work carried out in England and Wales but mainly throughout the Archdiocese which includes Merseyside (except Wirral), the Isle of Man, West Lancashire, Halton, Warrington and parts of Greater Manchester and Cheshire. Nugent Care is a faith based charity whose work is undertaken in the name of the Catholic Church. Therefore its work is guided by the Church s social teaching and should be of the highest professional standards. Nugent Care provides services to all sections of the community and works with all people regardless of race, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, religious faith or none. GOVERNANCE Nugent Care operates in accordance with a Trust Deed, last re-written in December 2005 but reviewed biannually. The Trust deed sets out the charitable objects of Nugent Care including; To provide for the relief and care of young children through the provision of an adoption agency or service and fostering facilities The Governing Body of Nugent Care comprises of 5 trustees and 7 ordinary members. The Trustees and Governing Body are responsible for the strategic direction of Nugent Care; for defining policy and guiding the charity in the pursuance of its objectives and in accordance with its philosophy. The Trustees are the stewards of the financial, human and material resources of Nugent Care and they ensure that the charity works within legal and financial guidelines The Chair of the Trustees is the Rt Rev Patrick Kelly. The Trustees and Governing Body meet four times a year and receive regular information about the operation of the Adoption Service. In addition the Trustees receive an annual Adoption Panel report and review and approve the Statement of Purpose. Adoption Statement of Purpose Reviewed May 2010 Page 4 of 4

5 Responsibility for the day to day operation is delegated to the Chief Executive who is in turn supported by the Executive and Senior Management Teams. Details of the management structure appear on Page 12. Nugent Care accepts in its Basic Principles that in seeking to provide a service we should work with and through others. The Agency works in line with Nugent Care s Equal Opportunities Policy. In the context of adoption, collaboration will be with other voluntary agencies and local authorities so we can play our part in the provision of an adoption service envisaged in the Voluntary Adoption Agencies and Adoption Agencies (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2003 and the Adoption Agency Regulations There are already well-established links with Adoption 22; the North West Voluntary Adoption Agencies (N.W.V.A.A. s); British Agencies for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF); The Adoption Agencies Consultancy Group on Inter Country Adoption, the Consortium of Voluntary Adoption Agencies, other voluntary agencies throughout the country and local authorities outside of the Merseyside area. Nugent Care Adoption Services, as part of Nugent Care is supported by the complex and integrated infrastructure of the wider organisation which includes IT support, Human Resources, Finance, Staff Training, Marketing, Health and Safety and a Performance Management Unit. THE OBJECTIVES OF NUGENT CARE ADOPTION SERVICE Nugent Care believes that all children should have the right to family life and that they should be brought up in families that can provide stability, loving care, guidance and a sense of self worth, identity and belonging. There are some children who, for a variety of reasons, are not able to live with their birth families and they need permanent placement with other carers and parents. The Nugent Care Adoption Service exists therefore:- To provide for those children in care who need a family placement. Nugent Care offers specific sensitivity to issues of faith in the life of these children To ensure that the whole service is focused on the wellbeing of the child and ensuring that his/her needs are met and his/her rights are upheld To ensure that children, birth parents and adopters receive the highest possible standards of service and are treated with respect, honesty and sensitivity To provide secure placements where the child s needs have been carefully matched with the skills, abilities and attributes of adoptive parents and to support such placements so as to minimise the risks of disruption To offer training and support to adoptive families during assessment, after approval and following placement and to offer lifelong advice and support to the adoptee and adopters after the Adoption Order has been made To allow staff to fulfil their responsibilities to children, adopters and birth parents and provide an excellent service To provide a meaningful contribution to the provision of a comprehensive adoption service within the Archdiocese with links with Adoption 22, BAAF, NWVAA and through membership of the Adoption Agencies Consultancy Group on Inter Country Adoption. The agency is also a member of Caritas Social Action To work in partnership with Local Authorities and placing agencies Adoption Statement of Purpose Reviewed May 2010 Page 5 of 5

6 PRINCIPLES UNDERLYING THE SERVICE The principles guiding the Adoption Service are the same as those which direct the work of the whole of Nugent Care which are based on the unique worth and dignity of the individual. Our children s services are emboldened by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and, in all that we do, we aim to fulfil legislative requirements and comply with good practice. Therefore the Nugent Care Adoption Service will work so that every child who comes into contact with our service will:- Be Safe Be Healthy Enjoy and Achieve Make a Positive Contribution Achieve Economic Wellbeing To achieve this, the Adoption Service will work in accordance with the following principles; The Welfare Principle The promotion of the child s welfare will be the central point of all aspects of our work from the first contact made with a prospective adopter through to the advice being given to a birth relative seeking assistance decades after an adoption order has been granted. Safeguarding The Agency will strive to ensure that children are protected from abuse, neglect, exploitation and ill treatment. Safeguarding principles inform every aspect of the Agency s work with rigorous checks being made during the recruitment of staff, assessment of adopters and the monitoring of placements. Openness and honesty The agency will, in all its work, strive to work in partnership with all those caught up in the adoption process and in the spirit of transparency and clarity. Confidentiality The agency will respect confidentiality and privacy about individuals who use our service. Inclusion The agency will seek to promote the rights of those at risk of being excluded from modern society and will work to make sure that its services are non-discriminatory, accessible and easily understood. Accountability Adoption Statement of Purpose Reviewed May 2010 Page 6 of 6

7 The Adoption Service accepts and welcomes external scrutiny and inspection. In addition it will ensure that it operates a robust complaints system and allows for service users to feedback comments and opinions about their experiences of the work of the Agency. Social Justice The Agency, in accordance with its Catholic ethos, works to promote social justice. On the basis that any child unable to live with their birth family is already disadvantaged and in the knowledge that many children in the care system have experienced neglect, abuse, dislocation and rejection; the Adoption Service exists to uphold their rights to experience all the advantages of stable family life and therefore to reach their full potential. It is for this reason that the Nugent Care Adoption Service aims to provide the very best in adoption practice. OUR FUNCTIONS AS AN ADOPTION AGENCY IS TO PROVIDE A SERVICE TO:- 1. Those wishing to adopt: The Agency seeks to recruit, assess and train prospective adopters for children referred by local authorities and other agencies. Prospective adopters will be assessed in accordance with criteria set out in the Adoption Agency Regulations Nugent Care, as an Accredited Independent Inter Country Adoption Agency provides an inter-country adoption service and will also consider providing this service on behalf of local authorities if requested. Prospective inter-country adopters will need to demonstrate, via a comprehensive home study assessment, that they have the necessary skills and personal qualities to successfully parent a child adopted from overseas and that they meet the legal requirements under UK and international law. The Agency will provide interpersonal support to adoptive families beyond the granting of an Adoption Order, if requested. 2. Those who have been adopted through Nugent Care: The Agency offers adopted people support and specific help to obtain certified copies of their original birth certificates, and if requested, help to trace birth relatives. 3. Children in public care referred to the Agency for placement with adoptive parents: The Agency seeks to recruit adopters for children on referral from local authorities and other agencies. Cultural, racial, linguistic and religious backgrounds of children will be reflected when placements are considered. 4. Birth relatives: The Agency will offer advice and support to people who have placed a child for adoption through the Agency, for as long as this support is needed. Requests by birth relatives for information or assistance in tracing adopted adults will be considered on an individual basis. Adoption Statement of Purpose Reviewed May 2010 Page 7 of 7

8 THE SERVICES WE OFFER IN ADOPTION Our aim is offer placements for children who need love, safety and stability in a family setting. We aim to continually develop services to meet the needs of adopters and children. The services we currently offer include:- recruitment of adopters to adopt UK children [Domestic Adoption] recruitment of adopters to adopt children from other countries [Intercountry Adoption] Preparation to Adopt training sessions Qualified and highly experienced social workers to assess and support adopters Lifelong support to the adopter and adopted children Support to adopted children s birth family Support to adopted adults who we have helped place in adoptive homes Access to additional support through the wider Nugent Care network where factors such as disability, sight or hearing impairment, learning difficulties, educational difficulties impact on adoptive placements Help with contact arrangements for children with their birth family Help in accessing other specialist support or training children or adopters might need e.g. counselling, conflict resolution, positive parenting OTHER SERVICES WE OFFER The Adoption Service and wider Nugent Care services have a range of other experience and expertise and can offer additional services to individuals, other organisations and Local Authorities. These can include:- Chairing of Adoption Disruption Meetings Independent Assessments or Investigations Chairing and/or membership of adoption, permanence and fostering Panels Permanence Order assessments Targeted family finding for specific groups of children or individual children Direct work with children including life story work This list is not exhaustive. We would be happy to discuss any service problems we may be able to help with. A negotiable fee would apply for the provision of these services. WHO ARE THE CHILDREN WE PLACE? Meeting the needs of the children are our biggest priority. They will have a range of needs depending on their individual circumstances but can include:- Children with a learning disability or physical disability Brothers and sisters who need to stay together Children whose development might have been delayed Children for whom their future development is uncertain Older children Children where there is a parental history of drug or alcohol use Children where there is some family history of mental illness Children who have simply been waiting too long to be found a placement Adoption Statement of Purpose Reviewed May 2010 Page 8 of 8

9 CRITERIA FOR ADOPTERS Domestic adoption Applications from anyone legally entitled to adopt will be considered. Couples must demonstrate that they have a stable relationship. Infertility treatment, if undertaken, must be completed prior to commencement of the assessment. In deliberations about placing children, the Agency s practice will be to emphasise meeting the child s needs by placing the child, whenever possible, with adopters of the same racial, cultural, linguistic and religious background. In line with Nugent Care s Basic Principles, every effort will be made to recruit appropriate prospective adopters of any religious denomination or none. Nugent Care funds this work initially from its voluntary funds. The Agency s costs will then be met by an inter-agency placement fee, payable by the placing local authority or voluntary adoption agency. Inter-Country Adoption Nugent Care s primary concern when undertaking assessments of prospective inter-country adopters is to safeguard the well being of the children placed for adoption from overseas. These placements are usually in respect of children for whom no suitable alternative placement is available in their country of origin. Applications from anyone entitled to adopt will be considered. Couples must demonstrate that they have a stable relationship. It is expected that applicants will meet the eligibility criteria of the child s country of origin. Infertility treatment, if undertaken, must be completed prior to commencement of the assessment. Prospective inter-country adopters will need to demonstrate that they have an understanding and appreciation of the racial, cultural, linguistic and religious background of children from their country of choice. In line with Nugent Care s Basic Principles, we will consider application from prospective inter-country adopters of any religious denomination or none. Nugent Care will not fund this work from its voluntary funds. adopters will be charged a fee for this service. Prospective inter-country MAIN CONTACTS Adoption Statement of Purpose Reviewed May 2010 Page 9 of 9

10 The Responsible Individual, for the Adoption Service, Ms Catherine Shelton, can be contacted at Nugent Care s Head Office (address below): Nugent Care 99 Edge Lane Liverpool L7 2PE Tel: Fax: Website: The Registered Manager of the Adoption Agency is Mr Martin Sadler, who can be contacted at the St Helens Office (address below):- Adoption Services Nugent Care 6 Chain Lane St Helens, WA11 9RA Tel: Fax: Website: The Agency Decision Maker is Ms Kathleen Pitt who is the Chief Executive of Nugent Care. Ms Pitt can be contacted at:- Nugent Care 99 Edge Lane Liverpool L7 2PE Tel: Fax: Website: Nugent Care Adoption Services are registered with Ofsted. OFSTED Registration: SC Registered Charity Number: The Independent Review Mechanism is a national body which can look at concerns regarding adoption. Leaflets are available on request and are included in our information pack. Please check their criteria for dealing with complaints as they will only become involved at a certain stage of the adoption process. Their contact details are:- Adoption Statement of Purpose Reviewed May 2010 Page 10 of 10

11 Contract Manager Independent Review Mechanism (IRM) Unit 4 Pavilion Business Park Royds Hall Road Wortley LEEDS LS12 6AJ Telephone: Fax: Ofsted are the organisation which registers and inspects the adoption service. Their contact details are:- Ofsted National Business Unit Royal Exchange Buildings St Ann s Square Manchester M2 7LA Telephone: Roger Morgan The Children s Right s Director care of: - Alexander House 33Kingsway LONDON WC2B 6SE Tel: Also contactable care of OFSTED THE ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURE OF NUGENT CARE S ADOPTION AGENCY See diagram below. Adoption Statement of Purpose Reviewed May 2010 Page 11 of 11

12 The Service Manager, Adoption Services, is line manager for all the social work staff employed by the Adoption Agency. The Service Manager is himself line managed by Ms Catherine Shelton, Assistant Director (Children & Young People) The Responsible Individual. Mrs Molland, Administrative Supervisor, is line manager to the two Administrative Assistants employed by the Agency. Mrs Molland is herself line managed by the Service Manager Manager, Adoption Services. Rt Rev Patrick Kelly Archbishop of Liverpool - Chair Trustees and Governing Body CHIEF EXECUTIVE Kathleen Pitt Director of Operations Kathleen Batt Assistant Director Children & Young People Catherine Shelton Service Manager (Adoption Services) Martin Sadler Senior admin 4 f/t Senior Practitioners 3 self-employed Social worker 2 f/t admin assistants Adoption Statement of Purpose Reviewed May 2010 Page 12 of 12

13 QUALIFICATIONS AND EXPERIENCE OF MANAGER Mr Martin Sadler joined Nugent Care in July 2009 as Service Manager for the Adoption Service. Mr Sadler has a wide experience of managing Adoption and Fostering services for a number of local authorities. He has also worked in residential childcare, leaving care and in the registration and inspection of childcare. He qualified as a Social Worker in 1994 and was awarded a Graduate Certificate in Management and Leadership from Manchester Metropolitan University in STAFFING All social work staff employed by the Adoption Agency hold a recognised social work qualification. All are experienced Senior Practitioners with considerable experience in adoption and family placement work. Team members serve on local authority and voluntary agency Adoption Panels. All are registered with the General Social Care Council. Team members are: - Mrs Julie Clark, Senior Practitioner (full-time) CQSW; DIP SS; PQ 1 Mr David Wood, Senior Practitioner (full-time) CQSW; CERT FP; PQ 1 Ms Annmarie Field, Senior Practitioner (full-time) DIPSW; MA SWS; PQ 1 Mrs Paula Gibbins, Senior Practitioner (full-time) DIPSW; PQ1 Vacancy Post Adoption Social Worker/ Senior Practitioner (full-time) The Team is also supported by a number of commissioned self-employed social workers who work under the supervision of the Senior Practitioners and Service Manager. Three administrative staff support the Team: - Mrs Veronica Molland, Administration Supervisor (full-time) Mrs Anne Bajer, Administrative Assistant (full-time) Mrs Gillian Thomas, Administrative Assistant (full-time) Adoption Statement of Purpose Reviewed May 2010 Page 13 of 13

14 ADOPTION PANEL Applications from people who wish to be approved as adopters are considered by our Adoption Panel who will make a recommendation to our Chief Executive. She is the Agency Decision Maker and will make the final decision. Panel also look at changes to approval, deregistration of adopters and can give advice during the assessment. It also has a monitoring role on the quality of assessment work and checks that work is progressed in a timely and thorough way. Panel is made up of a mixture of Nugent Care staff and independent people. It includes people with experience as adopters and people who have themselves been adopted. Panel also has access to medical and legal advisors. More details on the Panel processes are in our information pack. Current Panel membership is:- Chair Ann Harris Independent Vice Chair Paul Ross Independent Elizabeth Dodds Nugent Care Trustee Catherine Shelton Nugent Care Social Worker and Manager Marie Higgins Nugent Care Manager Vivienne Nicholls Independent Social Worker Adele Dibden Independent Jennifer Peake Independent Vacancy Medical Advisor Vacancy Panel is assisted by:- Legal Advisor Educational Advisor Panel Advisor Helen Broughton Wendy Sparling Martin Sadler MONITORING AND EVALUATION As well as Panel having a monitoring role on adoption work, the Adoption Service is monitored in line with Nugent Care s policies and procedures. Regular management reports are supplied from the Adoption Service to Senior Management. These include quarterly reports to the Chief Executive and the Governing Body and monthly Balanced Scorecard reports. The Adoption Chair has 6 monthly progress meetings with the Chief Executive and annual appraisals of Panel Members. Our performance Management Unit provide regular summaries of issues raise via head office monitoring. We are also externally inspected by Ofsted and copies of their inspection reports are available on their website or on request to the Adoption Team. Adoption Statement of Purpose Reviewed May 2010 Page 14 of 14

15 PROCESS FOR RECRUITING AND APPROVING PROSPECTIVE ADOPTERS Nugent Care Adoption Services seeks to recruit prospective adoptive parents to meet the needs of children requiring adoptive placements in this country and abroad. Although prospective adoptive parents may contact the Agency in response to an advertising campaign, we also receive applications from people who have heard of us and our reputation. We aim to capitalise on the publicity generated by events such as National Adoption Week and any relevant TV programmes which may have a positive impact upon recruitment. Preparation and Assessment The Agency seeks to recruit, assess and train prospective adopters for children referred by local authorities and other agencies. Nugent Care, as an Accredited Independent Inter- Country Adoption Agency, also provides an Inter-Country adoption service and will also consider providing this service on behalf of local authorities if requested. THE ADOPTION PROCESS The adoption process is thorough and will take some time. Our target is to complete the work within 8 months of accepting a formal application. In most cases the work is completed more quickly; however it does rely on the individual applicant s situation and availability. Detailed information on what happens at each stage of the assessment process is available on request in our Information Pack. BASIC GUIDE TO THE PROCESS Stage 1 basic details are gathered about the prospective adopter(s), initial questions are dealt with and information packs are sent out. Stage 2 contact is made with enquirers to check they have received the information pack, any further questions are dealt with and, if the enquirer wishes to pursue their interest an arrangement will be made to undertake a home visit and/or an invitation will be given to attend an information meeting. Stage 3 if the enquirer and adoption service are in agreement then an invitation will be made for the enquirer to attend a training group which will inform them in more detail of adoption. This enables them to make an informed decision if they wish to move on to a full assessment. Stage 4 if both the Adoption Service and the enquirer think it appropriate the Adoption Service will accept a formal application for assessment, a social worker will be allocated and the assessment can start. The assessment will include full statutory checks being undertaken, references taken up and checked. Stage 5 on completion of the assessment applicants are invited to attend Adoption Panel where their application will be discussed and a recommendation is made. Adoption Statement of Purpose Reviewed May 2010 Page 15 of 15

16 Stage 6 - The Agency Decision Maker will make the final decision on the application. Once adopters are approved work starts on looking for an appropriate match with a child. Stage 7 Detailed discussions are held with Local Authority Social Workers whenever a prospective match is made. Throughout the process the interests of the child remain paramount. Stage 8 When the matching decision has been made and agreed a careful programme of introductions is planned. The prospective adopters are fully involved and supported throughout this process. COMPLAINTS Nugent Care are committed to providing the best possible service to all. We welcome views about the services which are provided and encourage feedback. If service users are unhappy about any aspect of the service they have received there are a number of routes which can be followed to seek a resolution. Nugent Care has a clear complaints procedure which can be used to bring concerns to our attention. Leaflets about the complaints procedure are available on request from all our work sites. We can be contacted via telephone or write to us for a copy of our complaints procedure. Details are also available on our Nugent Care website. Should any user of the Adoption Service be unhappy or dissatisfied with the service provided, they should, in the first instance, contact:- Mr Martin Sadler Service Manager Adoption Services Team Nugent Care 6 Chain Lane St Helens WA11 9RA Telephone: Fax: Alternatively please contact our Performance Management Unit:- Adoption Statement of Purpose Reviewed May 2010 Page 16 of 16

17 PMU Nugent Care 99 Edge Lane Liverpool L7 2PE Telephone In certain situations Nugent Care will ask an independent person to investigate the complaint. In addition representation can be made to OFSTED. Ofsted National Business Unit Royal Exchange Buildings St Ann s Square Manchester M2 7LA Finally Children can contact:- Roger Morgan The Children s Right s Director care of: - Alexander House 33Kingsway LONDON WC2B 6SE Tel: CONCULSION The adoption of a child is one of the most profound events that can occur in life. Although defined as creating a legal relationship adoption has implications for every aspect of a child s life reaching to the very core of the child s identity and sense of self. In addition an adoption has great significance for the adoptive family and birth parents. It is impossible to be part of this process and not be effected by it. Nugent Care recognises the deep emotional, psychological and social significance of adoption for all concerned and will seek to continue to offer this service in accordance with the highest standards of practice and in the spirit of respect for children, their families of origin and their adoptive parents. Adoption Statement of Purpose Reviewed May 2010 Page 17 of 17

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