Adoption and Permanence Panel: Information for applicants attending Panel

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1 London Borough of Lambeth Adoption and Permanence Panel: Information for applicants attending Panel Lambeth aims to treat applicants fairly, openly and with respect throughout the decision-making process.

2 Introduction This leaflet provides you with information about the Lambeth Adoption and Permanence Panel (APP) procedures when it considers your application to adopt or foster a child long term or approve you as an adopter. The reports/application prepared by your adoption/fostering social worker will be sent to the panel members for consideration. When you attend the panel, you may be asked to provide further information or clarification about your reports/application to help panel members make their recommendations. Is my Attendance Compulsory? We encourage and expect applicants to attend the panel meetings, unless there are significant reasons why this is not possible. Your attendance is part of Lambeth Council s policy to promote openness and involvement of applicants in the decision making process where possible and appropriate. The Role of the Adoption and Permanence Panel The Adoption and Permanence Panel operates under government legislation and guidance. The panel will consider all applications fairly, openly and equitably. The panel makes recommendations to the Agency Decision Makers (ADM) (in Lambeth, these are the responsibility of the Delivery Director and Assistant Director of Children Social Care) who will make a final decision regarding: the approval of domestic adopters approval of Lambeth Foster Carers to foster a child/ren long-term that a child should be adopted where the parents have given consent the decision that a child/children should be fostered long-term. approval of a match between a child /ren and an adoptive family /Long Term Foster Carer add Long Term Fostering to an adoption care plan for a child APP GUIDE FOR APPLICANTS Guidance 1 & Procedure 6 (-FEB 2015)

3 The Membership of the Adoption and Permanence Panel The Adoption and Permanence Panel members include members who are on the Central List (Adoption & Fostering Members - The Central List): independent chair Vice-chair appointed from the panel membership. social workers Medical Adviser Lambeth councillor several Independent members who have either professional or personal experience as adopters, adoptee, foster carers, birth parents, background in education, health or children social work The following people also attend each APP: Agency Adviser to the panel Panel Secretary who takes the minutes of the meetings. Occasionally there will be up to two observers: for example a new panel member, medical trainee or social care staff. At each meeting, there must be least 5 members from the Central List of Panel Membership in attendance. These should include: the chair or vice chair, a social worker and an independent member. A copy of their professional backgrounds and experiences of panel members will be in the waiting room for you to read. Please do not remove this from the room. Thank you. APP GUIDE FOR APPLICANTS Guidance 2 & Procedure 6 (-FEB 2015)

4 Preparing for the panel Before the panel date, your assessment social worker will meet with you and discuss the panel process. You will be given a copy of this leaflet and answer questions you might have. Your assessing social worker will also discuss with you the draft Prospective Adopters Report (PAR) or other assessment reports and the recommendation you are seeking. At this stage, it is an opportunity for you to request correction of any factual errors. You will be asked to sign the report which will then be presented to the panel at least one week before the meeting date. Attending the Panel Meeting The Panel Secretary will send you an invitation about the panel meeting date, time and location. You will also receive a copy of the revised and signed Prospective Adopters Report (PAR) from your assessment social worker and this leaflet before attending the panel meeting. Your assessment social worker or the child/ren social worker and her/his manager will be present at the panel meeting to support you and answer relevant questions you might have. If you wish, you may bring a support person with you. The department will need to be informed before the meeting of their identity and confirm whether it s appropriate for them to attend. The support person will not be allowed to take part in the discussions at the panel meeting. Lambeth Children Social Care is unable to reimburse any expenses you incurred as a result of attending the panel meeting. The Panel Meeting Panel meetings are normally held at Lambeth Town Hall at the junction of Brixton Hill and Acre Lane. The Town Hall reception staff will direct you to the waiting room 31 on the ground floor which is reserved for those attending the Panel meeting. Before you are invited to join the meeting: the panel chair will ask members for their comments on the reports and a list of issues for discussion will be put together. The panel chair will then meet with you briefly in the waiting room before you are invited to join the meeting. APP GUIDE FOR APPLICANTS Guidance 3 & Procedure 6 (-FEB 2015)

5 The chair will discuss with you issues raised by the members that will require further explanation from either you or the social worker(s). When you join the meeting: each member will introduce themselves to you. The chair will then explain the reasons for the meeting and how it will be conducted. Individual panel members will ask questions or seek clarification from you or your assessment social worker about key points in the PAR. After the discussion is concluded, the chair may ask you and your assessing social worker to leave the room for a few minutes while the members discuss your answers and make a recommendation about your suitability to be an adopter/long-term foster carer/or for you to be matched with a child/ren. Their decision will be based on the evidence provided in your PAR assessment and given verbally by you and the social worker(s) at the meeting. In circumstances where the panel recommendation is not to approve you as an adopter/longterm foster carer/or match a child/ren with you; the chair will speak to you privately about this before you leave. Decision Making after Panel If you do not attend the panel, your assessing social worker will inform you of the recommendation that has been made to the Agency Decision Maker the same day or soon after. The panel recommendations and minutes are sent to the Agency Decision-Maker who makes the final decision. Lambeth Children Social Care aims to meet these timescales: The Final Minutes are normally sent to the Agency Decision Maker (ADM) within 7 working days after the panel meeting The ADM then has 7 working days to make a decision on the recommendations from the panel after receiving the Final Minutes You will be notified of the ADM s decision verbally within 24 hours by your assessing Social Worker. You will also receive a written confirmation within 5 working days after the ADM decision APP GUIDE FOR APPLICANTS Guidance 4 & Procedure 6 (-FEB 2015)

6 If the decision is made not to approve your application, you will be notified of this and the reasons. If you do not agree with the decision, you have the right to write to the Agency Decision Maker within 28 days and ask for a review. Your comments may be referred to the panel for further consideration by the Agency Decision Maker. You also have the right to refer your case to the Independent Review Mechanism (IRM). APP GUIDE FOR APPLICANTS Guidance 5 & Procedure 6 (-FEB 2015)

7 Feedback Form We welcome your feedback about the adoption process. Please complete this form and return to the address below. Your comments will help us review and improve our services where necessary. Before-Panel Date Were you sent an invitation to attend the Panel? yes / no Did you receive A copy of your PAR? yes / no Information for foster carers/ prospective adopters attending Panel? yes / no Did you find it useful? yes / no At the Panel Were you dealt with courteously and promptly? yes / no Were you introduced to everyone present? yes / no Do you consider Panel listened to your contribution? yes / no Do you consider the Panel discussion was conducted professionally? yes / no Was the panel recommendation and reasons explained clearly to you? yes / no Your overall rating of the Panel process Excellent / Good / Satisfactory / Poor Further Comments If you wish to make any additional comments about the Panel meeting or assessment process, please use the other side of this paper, or attach a separate sheet. Thank you Thank you for taking the time to complete this form. Please add your name and date so we know who has responded and when. Name: Date: Please return to: Panel Secretariat & Agency Adviser Lambeth Children and Young People s Service International House-9 th Floor 6 Canterbury Crescent LONDON SW9 7QE APP GUIDE FOR APPLICANTS Guidance 6 & Procedure 6 (-FEB 2015)