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Integrated Children's System

Adoption Plan

The National Adoption Standards in England (Department of Health, 2001) provide the framework for the delivery of adoption services to children or young people, birth families, prospective adopters and adoptive parents.

Many of the Standards are already required either by primary legislation or statutory guidance. The new requirements under Section 7 of the Local Authority Social Services Act 1970 are:

  • A plan for permanence must be in place for all looked after children at the four month statutory review;
  • Agencies must put in place systems to monitor their performance against the time-scales set out in the Standards for matching children with adoptive families and taking a decision on prospective adopters.

The remaining Standards will become statutory guidance from 1st April 2003.

View Integrated Children's System Adoption Plan (PDF format)

Completing an Adoption Plan

Where a decision is made in a review that the most appropriate permanence plan for the child is adoption an Adoption Plan should be drawn up. The Adoption Plan outlines the key processes and time-scales and records all the actions required to complete the adoption process. It also records the date the child is referred to the National Adoption Register.

When completed and signed the Adoption Plan replaces Part Two of the Care Plan. Where parallel planning is being pursued for a child or young person and an Adoption Plan is completed as part of this process, the Adoption Pan will not replace Part Two of the Care Plan until such time as it is confirmed by a review that parallel planning has ended and adoption is now the only plan.

Key Features

The Adoption Plan uses the same framework and tabular format as other plans in the Integrated Children’s System. In addition, it includes sections which record:

  • support for adoptive parents;
  • support to birth parents;
  • contact arrangements;
  • Family Finding Plan and timetable; and
  • referral to the National Adoption Register.
  • Key details

    This records information concerning the child or young person including legal status and court details.

  • Timescales for the Adoption Plan

    The National Adoption Standards identify a number of timescales for the key process involved in adoption. It is important that Councils with Social Services Responsibilities carefully monitor these processes to identify whether there are any areas where delays occur and take the action(s) necessary.

    This section of the plan records the time involved in completing each of the key processes and should be updated as actions are completed. To assist practitioners in monitoring the timescales for individual children and young people the timescales identified in the National Adoption Standards are given in the guidance note in the left-hand margin of the page.

  • Child’s Developmental Needs

    The plans to meet the child and young person’s needs are set out in the tabular format used throughout the Integrated Children’s System. This will facilitate the updating of the Adoption Plan from previous plans for the child or young person.

  • Corporate Parent: Parenting Capacity

    Records any actions or services required to enable a Council with Social Services Responsibility to fulfil its role as a child or young person’s corporate parent for the time that he or she remains in foster care.

  • Support for Adoptive Parents

    It is important that adoptive parents have access to a range of multi-agency support services, before during and after adoption. This may include special support to meet the specific needs of a child or young person in one or more dimensions of their development and information about local and national support groups.

  • Support for Birth Parents

    The Adoption Plan brings together all the actions being taken by a Council with Social Services Responsibilities to facilitate a child or young person’s adoption. This includes the support being provided to birth parents. It is important that birth parents have access to a support worker from the time that adoption is identified as the plan for their child.

    The information in this section of the plan should not be copied to the prospective adopters without the consent of birth parents.

  • Contact

    All members of the child or young person’s immediate birth family should be recorded here, even when contact arrangements may not be in place. This will ensure that any review of the plan or contact arrangements will include all members of a child or young person’s immediate birth family. Contact arrangements with other significant people for a child or young person such as friends, extended family members and previous carers should also be recorded in this section. The type of contact, for example face to face or letterbox should be specified.

  • Family Finding Plans and Timetable

    This section of the plan sets out the strategy the council will employ to find a matching family for a child or young person, including the contingency plan in the event that the identified strategy does not produce a suitable match.

    It also records the actions that have or will be taken to prepare the child or young person for adoption and, where the child or young person is of sufficient age and understanding, their views about the Adoption Plan.

  • Signatures

    The Adoption Plan does not require the signatures of the child or young person or parents.

    Birth parents do not need to have access to the full details of the Adoption Plan for their child and in most cases their support worker will be able to respond to their queries.

Links to other records in the Integrated Children’s System

  • The Adoption Plan and Care Plan

    The statutory review for a child or young person where the plan is adoption receiving should consider, the Care Plan (Part One) and the Adoption Plan.

    Practitioners should only copy those sections of the Adoption Plan for the review relating to the Child’s developmental Needs, Support to Birth Parents and Contact. In situations where a birth parent should not know where a child or young person is placed it will be important that any names or addresses that might identify where the child is placed, such as Health Centres or schools are obscured.

    In situations that require only Part One of the Care Plan to be completed, the final section of Part Two should also be completed as this records the views of all parties regarding the objectives of the Care Plan and asks for their signatures.
By Steve Walker, David Shemmings and Hedy Cleaver
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