At the end of an adoption assessment, all applicants are invited to attend adoption panel. This involves a meeting with a selection of individuals with experience and expertise in adoption. Their role is to discuss the application - the assessment report - and make a recommendation to the Agency Decision Maker about whether the applicant should be approved to adopt, and if they are also seeking dual-approval whether they should be approved as a Fostering for Adoption carer.
Our panel is a Permanence Panel because it can make recommendations about suitability to adopt - Adoption Focus - as well as recommendations about approval as Fostering for Adoption Carers - Triangle Project. The Panel is made up of independent experts - adoptive parents, social work and other professionals with experience of looked-after children and adoption, a medical advisor, and adults who were adopted as children. The panel meeting takes place either at our main office or via video call.
The idea of attending panel can seem daunting for some people. However, it’s important to remember that by this time, applicants are well prepared following their preparation training and time working with their allocated social worker. Panel is intended to ensure that all the relevant preparation has been completed and all aspects of adoption have been properly considered, rather than to try and ‘catch out’ applicants. Our panel members are friendly, professional and sympathetic to the feelings of applicants.
Sarah and Martin - Our adoption story
Once our assessment was completed we were invited to attend Adoption Panel, where our application to adopt would be considered. We received an information pack before we attended and Louise ran through some of the questions that she thought we might be asked. The day itself was exciting and the Panel Members were friendly and welcoming to us. The meeting took about an hour and very quickly afterwards we were told that we would be approved to adopt.
Do I have to go to Panel?
It is not a requirement for applicants to go to Panel, and not going does not prejudice their application, most do choose to attend. It’s an opportunity for applicants to reflect on their experience to date – how they came to apply with Adoption Focus, what they have learnt during the process and what their expectations are now. It’s also an opportunity for the panel members to meet the prospective adopters and clarify points in the paperwork.
What happens at Panel?
The applicants’ assessment report, completed by their social worker in partnership with the applicant/s, is read by panel members before the meeting. For the first part of the meeting, panel members speak to the applicants’ social worker before the applicants are met – virtually if online - and invited to join.
What is adoption Panel?
Adoption Focus has its own Panel made up of independent experts - adoptive parents, adoption professionals, a medical advisor and adults who were adopted as children. The Panel meeting takes place either at our office – or online via video call.