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4.1.17 Family Finding Role and Procedure


This chapter outlines the role of the family finder and the family finding process.


In June 2015, this chapter was updated in respect of action to be taken if no locally identified match is being actively pursued. In this case,  the child's details should be passed to the Adoption Register and Regional Consortium immediately after the decision by the Agency Decision Maker (Adoption) that the child should be placed for adoption, and, in any event, at the latest by 3 months.


  1. Introduction
  2. The Role of the Family Finder
  3. Post Agency Decision
  4. Family Finding Activity
  5. Family Finding Recording

1. Introduction

The adoption teams are available to provide advice and support with regard to family finding issues, at any point in the care proceedings.

Once the Should be placed for Adoption (SHOBPA) decision has been made at the ADM meeting, the child’s referral for adoption will be confirmed by the agency adviser. It is important that the social worker contacts the administrator in the Adoption and Family Finding Team to advise them as soon as the Placement Order has been granted and update the information on Mosaic.

Most of the decisions about family finding and utilising differing resources and considering the progression of family finding are generally agreed via the monthly children and families meeting. The service delivery manager (SDM) for adoption is available for any discussion if there is a need to explore further resources at a higher cost.

2. The Role of the Family Finder

If a child is under the age of 2, identified staff from the Adoption and Family Finding Team will undertake the family finding. They will contact the social worker prior to the making of the placement order and will liaise with adoption social workers about available adopters.

A family finder will normally be appointed when a child is:

  • Under the age of 2 but they have specific needs, or a placement is required outside Leeds;
  • Over the age of 2;
  • Part of a sibling group.

The family finder will meet with the social worker to gather information about the child and agree a family finding plan. They will complete the Profile of the child and Family Finding Plan of Action (Initial Meeting). They will advise about any preparation work to be undertaken with the child.

They will agree to review this plan every 3 months, the form Family Finding plan of Action (Review Meeting).

The family finder will then meet the child and their current carer.

In the first instance we will look at adopters who have been approved by Leeds City Council and establish whether there are any suitable for the child. If no locally identified match is being actively pursued, the child's details should be passed to the Adoption Register and Regional Consortium immediately after the decision by the Agency Decision Maker (Adoption) that the child should be placed for adoption, and, in any event, at the latest by 3 months.

The family finder will be the proactive person in identifying possible links for the social worker to consider. They will highlight strengths and weaknesses in any potential match and will agree in discussion with the social workers which match to pursue. The family finder will forward the child’s profile to the agency and then agree an exchange of the CPR & PAR.

If a match is identified the family finder and social worker will visit the prospective adopters together and liaise with their worker. It is important at this stage, that a copy of the approval panel minutes is requested from the approving agency.

Following the visit a matching meeting should be held, to clearly identify the strengths and weakness of the match (which should be confirmed in the APR). A clear link must be demonstrated in the APR between the match weaknesses and the adoption support plan.

In addition it is possible to identify what work needs to be undertaken and by whom prior to the match going to panel.

Arranging final contact

  • Preparation work with the child;
  • Requesting an adoption medical update;
  • Updating the CPR;
  • Organising a Life Appreciation Day;
  • Arranging for the adopters to meet the foster carers in their own home;
  • Arranging for the adopters to meet the agency medical advisor;
  • Booking a panel date;
  • Progressing any financial support request, via finance panel;
  • Completion of APR (matching report);
  • Liaising with the adopter’s agency to ensure that the applicants Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) and medicals are in date (within two years).

Where possible the family finder should attend panel for the match, along with the child’s social worker and the adoption worker.

Panel administration will require the following paperwork 3 weeks prior to the panel date:

  • APR/Matching report (fully signed);
  • Signed copy of PAR;
  • Copies of full in date medicals for the adopters;
  • Signed copy of prospective adopters approval minutes;
  • Updated and fully signed CPR, Sections A – f.

3. Post Agency Decision

Following the agency decision a date will be set for the placement planning meeting to take place.

The family finder will advise on placement planning arrangements and plans for introductions and will prepare a draft plan of introductions, making sure these have been circulated to everyone in advance, especially the foster carers, so that their views can be considered.

In consultation with the social worker and the adoption worker, the family finder will prepare the draft Adoptions Placement Plan, in advance of the placement planning meeting.

With in-house placements the adopter’s worker will normally chair the planning and midway review meeting. They will ensure that the Adoption Placement Plan is completed and passed to adoption admin staff so that the statutory notifications can be sent out.

With inter-agency placements the adoption team manager or family finder will undertake this role, with the adoption team manager signing the H1 (financial arrangements form) if required.

The family finder will attend the placement planning meeting, give adopters copies of mileage and expense forms and provide copies of the matching certificate.

Completed expense forms need to returned to the family finder as soon as possible and they will arrange for these to be approved and forwarded for reimbursement.

4. Family Finding Activity

There are a range of family finding activities which can be utilised, depending on the child’s specific circumstances; these can be discussed with the family finding.

Arrangements will be made for a professional photograph to be taken and a profile of the child will be completed, in conjunction with the social worker. This will be used to circulate to other agencies and at distributed at family finding events.

It is possible for a professional DVD to be recorded of children waiting for adoption; however this needs to be agreed by the adoption team manager.

The Adoption Register arranges Exchange Days about 6 times a year at different venues around the country. Staff from the Adoption & Family Finding Team attend and meet with adopters and workers from different agencies. Social workers can attend these events, but we do require prior knowledge of this so that the Adoption Register can be informed.

In Leeds we organise DVD events several times a year. We invite approved adopters from Leeds and other local adoption agencies, to view DVDs of child waiting for adoption.

We have also participated in Adoption Activity Days, organised through BAAF (British Agency of Adoption & Fostering).

We can feature children in adoption magazines such as, Be My Parent and Children Who wait. However this resource can take a lot of time, from the submission of the request to actual publication.

5. Family Finding Recording

The family finder will forward the Family Finding Plan of Action to the social worker after the initial meeting this can then be uploaded onto Mosaic. They will continue to use the family finding tracking sheets, saved electronically on G Drive. They will complete a regular 3 monthly summary of family finding activity, which will be sent to the child’s social worker and again can be uploaded to Mosaic.