Change a life - Adopt. give a child a home. Adoption Information

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1 Change a life - Adopt give a child a home Adoption Information

2 page 1 To find out more call

3 Contents: What is adoption Page 3 Who needs adopting Page 5 Criteria for those wishing to adopt Page 7 The adoption process for adopters Page 9 Frequently asked questions Page 13 Adoption support Page 16 Useful contacts Page 17 page 2

4 Section one Thoughts or questions What is adoption Adopting is about making a real difference to a child. When you adopt, you provide a secure, loving home to a child for life! Like all parenting, it means sticking with it through good times and bad. It is one of the most challenging, but also one of the most rewarding things you can do. Adoption is a legal process by which a new parent or parents take on all the rights and responsibilities of birth parents. The adopted child usually takes the surname of the family and becomes a permanent part of their lives, as if the child had been born to them. page 3 To find out more call

5 Adoption is a lifelong commitment. It s about providing a permanent family for a child or children in foster care who cannot for whatever reason, return home. How does fostering differ from adoption? Fostering is a way of providing family life for someone else s child, when they are unable to live with their birth family. Fostering can be a temporary arrangement, though sometimes foster care may be the plan until the child grows up. This is long term foster care. Fostering cannot provide the same legal security though it may be the right plan for some children. Unlike adoptive families, foster carers share the responsibility for the child with the local council and the child s birth parents. Fostering to Adopt In Kirklees we have now placed a number of children in a Fostering for Adoption placement. This means children could be with their permanent families from an earlier age and before the court process for the child ends. There are very few children that would be suitable for this type of placement and there is no guarantee the court will recommend adoption. Anyone considering Fostering for Adoption will need to be approved as an adoptive family before being approved as foster carer(s). A family who may wish to do this would need to have one adopter who could give up work or negotiate unpaid leave that could lead into adoption leave. They would also need to attend foster carer training and keep records. Fostering for Adoption carers are paid as foster carers while the court process is ongoing. Once the legal decision has been made that the child should be adopted, the case is presented to the adoption panel and the child is then considered placed for adoption instead of in foster care. This can be discussed further with your adoption worker during Stage Two. We re always looking for adoptive families to make a real, positive difference to a child. do something amazing give a child a family page 4

6 Who needs adopting Section two Many of the children come with a family history of mental illness, learning difficulties, drug or alcohol abuse. All of these may have implications for their own development. This may result from lack of care or from experiences that leave the child mistrustful of adults, and possibly with difficulties in forming relationships. They may have experienced many moves and changes in their lives. They may have been abused, or neglected in their birth families. When we are looking for an adoptive family for a child great care is taken over the matching of the child to their new family. Everyone will need time to hear about each other and make a decision about whether they are right for each other. Thoughts or questions All children placed for adoption will need help to come to terms with what has happened to them in their past. Children placed for adoption are likely to remain in limited contact with their birth family. This could mean anything from an annual letter to occasional planned meetings. Babies and children under 3 Only a few very young babies are available for adoption Many people want to adopt them, but we are only occasionally able to match very young babies. If you want to discuss this further, please contact us at the Adoption Team. page 5 To find out more call

7 Children over 3 Kirklees aims to place children for adoption up to the age of 7/8 years. Caring for these children is not easy. We would expect that people adopting them would be prepared to tackle problems and difficult behaviour, such as eating problems, destructiveness or difficulty in forming relationships. Sibling groups Many children are part of a family group of 2 or 3 brothers and sisters. For most sibling groups, it is important that they stay together, where appropriate or possible. Some groups of brothers and sisters are separated because their needs cannot be met, or because no suitable family comes forward. If separated, most brothers and sisters will have some form of contact with each other after adoption. we always need adopters who can look after children over 4 page 6

8 Criteria for people wishing to adopt Section three You must be in good physical, mental and emotional health. Everyone has a medical examination and health issues will need to be explored. You will need to demonstrate that any health issues will not prevent you from caring for a child on a day to day basis. A criminal record will not necessarily prevent you from adopting. However, this will need to be fully explored. Any conviction against a child will prevent the application proceeding. Thoughts or questions You have to be over 21 and able to make space in your life for a child. There is no upper age limit. You must reside permanently in the UK and have adequate space for a child to live in your home. As the children come from a wide range of backgrounds, we look for a variety of people to meet their needs. The main qualifications are a love and understanding of children, plenty of patience, flexibility and the ability to keep going through good and bad times. You can be: Single, male or female, married, living as a couple in a different or same sex relationship, divorced Of any religious faith or none Of any cultural background Homeowners or renting Employed, self-employed or on benefits Children who need adopting will have emotional problems and may appear to be much younger than their actual age. They will require more attention than other children. Because of this, we recommend about a 2 year age gap between a child placed for adoption and any other children in your family. page 7 To find out more call

9 We are looking for adoptive parents who can: Provide a child with unconditional love, despite the challenges they may bring Accept uncertainty about how a child may develop in the future Help the child understand why they were placed for adoption Provide an annual letter for their birth family, and accept information in return. We recommend that potential adopters take some time after ending fertility treatment before embarking on their adoption journey. It is unlikely that applications for a child or children under 5 will be considered if applicants or any member of their household smoke. It is advised that you are a non -smoker for at least 6 months before you contact us regarding adoption. This is due to the health implications smoking can have for a child. The use of electronic cigarettes is also included in this advice. Before considering adoption you need to think about whether you have a lifestyle, work-life balance, the time and the emotional security to meet the needs of a vulnerable child. Adoption leave If you are adopting as a single applicant we will expect you to take at least 6 months adoption leave if you work. If you are a couple adopting one partner will be expected to take at least 6 months adoption leave if you both work. In some cases it is necessary to take extended adoption leave of 12 months. You should explore your entitlement with your employer. ordinary people doing something extraordinary page 8

10 The adoption process for adopters Section four Thoughts or questions Initial Telephone Call - Checklist Attendance at Information Evening Registration of Interest Form given Statutory checks, DBS check, references and medical examinations completed Stage One Agreement Gathering, Sharing & Planning learning Kirklees decision about suitability to proceed to Stage Two and prospective adopter(s) give notice to proceed to next stage Pre Assessment and Information Stage Stage One: Prospective Adopter Led (2 months) Initial Preparation Stage Two Agreement Intensive Preparation / Training and assessment report produced Adoption Panel Stage Two: Adoption Worker Led (4 months) Intensive Preparation Agency Decision page 9 To find out more call

11 The adoption process step by step You will have already spoken to an adoption worker on the telephone and they will have taken some initial information from you as well as telling you some information about the adoption process. You are now in receipt of our booklet and invitation to one or our upcoming information evenings, which is a compulsory part of the process. It will give you the opportunity to learn more about adoption. You will be given a formal Registration of Interest Form when you attend an Information Evening. You will need to complete and return this form to begin Stage One of the process. This form will require you to sign consent for yourself and all adult members of your household. This will give us permission to carry out a Disclosure and Barring Service Check, your medical, Local Authority checks as well as write to the referees and previous partners. We will contact your employer and school (if you have school aged children) in Stage Two of the process. We will contact previous employers where you have worked with children or vulnerable adults. We need to make sure that you have not committed any serious offences that could prevent you from adopting. You will also be required to have a health check with your GP to show that you don t have any serious health problems, which might impact on your ability to care for a child on a day to day basis. When we have received the Registration of Interest form, a manager will make a decision on whether to accept it or not. We have to decide this within five days and then let you know. Should we accept it, your application will now be in Stage One. An adoption social worker will visit you to have further discussions about adoption. We will try and ensure that you have the same adoption worker throughout your adoption journey. They will gather information about you and give you details of the process. They will also work with you to identify the areas that you need to learn more about. You will be expected to contribute to this but you will be guided by your adoption worker, so it isn t as difficult as it sounds. You and your adoption worker will draw up a short agreement setting all this out. After two months, we will review Stage One. You will have learned more about adoption and will talk to your social worker about whether you still want to be considered as an adoptive parent. Your worker will tell you whether they feel you should proceed to Stage Two of the adoption process. If the social worker is not recommending you proceed, the reasons for this will be explained and confirmed in writing. If the worker is recommending you proceed, you will receive a letter and be asked to let us know if you want to proceed to Stage Two; the assessment stage. You can take up to 6 months as a break between Stage One and Stage Two if you choose to. page 10

12 At the start of Stage Two, your adoption worker will contact you and arrange regular appointments to meet with you to assess the skills and qualities that you can bring to adoption. During these sessions, you and your adoption worker will discuss a range of subjects related to the needs of the children who need adoptive families. You can discuss the number, ages and characteristics of the children you wish to adopt. Whilst you are being visited regularly by your adoption worker, you will be invited to attend a 4 day training course where you will learn more about what is involved with adoption. You will meet other people who are going through the same process as you, hear from experienced adopters and learn more about the children who need adoptive families. You need to attend all 4 days and on the final day up to 2 people from your support network will also be invited to attend. Prospective Adopter s Report (PAR), outlining your skills, abilities and the qualities you have to offer as an adopter. You will be given a copy of your PAR and have 10 days to provide your comments before the adoption panel. You will then be invited to attend the Adoption Panel with your adoption worker. The Panel considers your PAR and recommends whether or not to approve you as an adopter. The final decision is made by the Agency Decision Maker within 7 working days of panel and your social worker will let you know the outcome before it is confirmed in a letter. If you are not approved, your adoption worker will discuss the reasons with you and the agency will write to you. You will be able to put forward your views, and will have a right to make representation to the Adoption Agency or to apply for an Independent Review. The information is compiled and analysed by your adoption worker who then writes a report known as the page 11 To find out more call

13 The adoption process for children Care Proceedings Conclude- Placement Order granted Family Finding begins Adoptive Family Identified Match between child and adopters presented to adoption panel Period of Introductions to adoptive family Child placed for adoption Adoption Order granted- child is legally adopted The match Information provided to adopters Match to Adoption Panel Planning meeting Introductory visits to the child (over 2-4 week period depending Child is placed for adoption Support visits by child s social worker and adopters social worker Periodic Reviews The matching process step by step Once you have been approved as adopter(s) your social worker will begin searching for a child or children. In Kirklees our priority is always to provide children with adoptive families who can meet their needs. Our priority is getting the match right and this may take some time. Adopters are asked to provide consent for their details to be added to the Yorkshire Adoption Consortium and National Adoption Register. These are databases which allow social workers to carry out national searches in order to find the right families for children. When a child has been identified for you, your social worker will provide you with as much information as is available about the child or children and their birth family history. This will allow you to make an informed decision as to whether you wish to proceed. The match will need to be presented to the Adoption Panel and they will recommend whether it should go ahead. Once the match has been approved, introductions between you and the child will be planned. This process is explored in more detail during Preparation Groups and your assessment. page 12

14 Frequently asked questions Section five Thoughts or questions Is there an age limit for adopters? Prospective adopters must be over 21 years of age. There is no upper age limit, however adopters need to be able to demonstrate that they are in good health and will be able to parent an adopted child into adulthood. Do people have to live in Kirklees in order to adopt via Kirklees Social Services? No, we accept applications from Kirklees residents and residents outside Kirklees who live within 25 miles. Do I have to be married to adopt? No, single people can adopt as well as couples, whether or not they are married or have a civil partnership. I am seeing my doctor for infertility treatment; can I apply to adopt in case it doesn t work out? We recommend that potential adopters take some time between infertility treatment and starting an adoption application. We recognise that undergoing fertility treatment is challenging and emotional. This is also the case for adoption. We would therefore need potential adopters to have finished fertility treatment before starting their adoption journey to ensure they are fully committed to extending their family through adoption. Why do children need to be adopted? We think you should know right from the start that the children who need adoptive families have had some of the most difficult starts in life that we can think of. Even young page 13 To find out more call

15 children and babies will find it difficult to trust adults. Their response is often to push their adopters away because they expect to be let down. All this means that our children need re-parenting and aspects of this are different to usual parenting. It takes patience and nurture to help children to heal and trust adults and we will offer you guidance about what this involves. Can I adopt a baby? There are very few babies under 12 months available for adoption. Babies/ toddlers in need of adoption are likely to have health or development risks associated with their future. Kirklees aims to place children for adoption up to the age of 7/8 years. Caring for these children is not easy. We would expect that people adopting them would be prepared to tackle problems and difficult behaviour, such as eating problems, destructiveness and difficulty in forming relationships. Many children are part of a family group of 2 or 3 brothers and sisters. For many sibling groups, it is important that they stay together. Some groups of brothers and sisters are separated because their needs cannot be met together, or because no suitable family comes forward. If separated, most brothers and sisters will have some form of contact with each other after adoption I am of White British origins. Can I adopt a black or mixed parentage child? We do our best to match children with parents of the same background as this best meets the children s needs, and enables a child to feel they belong. However, there are times when the most appropriate placement may be with a family of different ethnic origin because this offers the best chance of family life for that particular child. I am interested in adopting a child from abroad. How do I go about this? The assessment procedure is largely the same but you will need to pay for the assessment and medical. The cost of the assessment will be in the region of 4,000. The cost of the medical will vary according to your G.P. You will also need to deal with an adoption agency in the country from which you are seeking to adopt in order to identify a child and deal with immigration. The total cost is likely to be in excess of 15,000. Visit for more information. In Kirklees, inter-country adoption assessments are carried out by Adoption Matters. page 14

16 We would always ask anyone who is interested in adopting from abroad to look a little closer at domestic adoption before making a final decision. The process is shorter to adopt a child from this country and you will not be charged for the assessment. Are there any other adoption agencies that will assess me other than Kirklees? Are there any other agencies that will assess me other than Kirklees? There is a dedicated information service for people interested in adopting a child in England. It is called First4Adoption and they can be contacted on or How long does the adoption process take in general? It is difficult to say how long the process will take. It is likely to take around 8 months from your initial phone call until you are approved as a prospective adopter. The length of time it takes to identify the right child for your family varies between a few months and over a year. page 15 To find out more call

17 Adoption support Section six In Kirklees we recognise that adopting a child is a huge challenge and we are committed to offering support to adoptive families. Adoption support can be accessed by any adoptive families who live in Kirklees and any adoptive family who have had a child placed with them by Kirklees within the last three years Adoptive families can request information or advice in relation to adoption issues. They can also request an assessment of the family s adoption support needs. Support can include providing practical and financial help. There are also support groups for adopters operating independently from Kirklees and in different parts of the country. Adoption UK has a local branch, their national telephone number is page 16

18 Section seven Useful contacts If you have any queries after receiving your information pack please contact our Adoption Team at the Family Placement Unit. First4Adoption or Adopters Help-line: Tel: or org.uk Adoption Register for England & Wales Unit 4, Pavilion Business Park, Royds Hall Road, Wortley, Leeds LS12 6AJ Tel: or Fax: or Adoption UK Linden House 55 The Green South Bar Street Banbury OX16 9AB Tel: Fax: Helpline (10am to 4pm) British Association for Adoption & Fostering (BAAF) Unit 4, Pavilion Business Park Royds Hall Road Wortley, Leeds LS12 6AJ Tel: Fax: Advice/Information: Adoption Team Riverbank Court Wakefield Road Aspley, Huddersfield HD5 9AA Ofsted Royal Exchange Buildings St Ann s Square Manchester M2 7LA Tel: Being Family Hollyshaw House 2 Hollyshaw Lane Leeds LS15 7BD Tel: page 17 To find out more call

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