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4.1.12 Non-Agency Adoption

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

Non agency adoption includes all those categories of adoption where the adoption agency and the adoption panel do not play a part in the placement of the child for adoption. These are:

  • Partner adoptions (formally known as step parent adoption);
  • Anyone who has had care of the child (for any three year period in the past five years);
  • Local authority foster parent(s) proceeding without the support of the social care.

Non agency adoption work is completed by the social worker; general advice and information is available from the adoption team. The court report must be written by an:

  • Employed social worker with at least three years post qualifying experience in child care social work, including direct experience of adoption work; or
  • Supervised by a social worker who does; or
  • An independent social worker with this experience; or
  • A student social worker supervised by a social worker with this experience.

All non agency adoptions have similar characteristics and there is a basic format comprising referral, counselling, provision of written information, assessment and preparation of the Annexe A report for court. Depending, however, on the type of non agency adoption, there may be extra elements included in the process and work.

For the procedure in relation to children who have been brought into the UK for the purposes of adoption - see Inter-County Adoption Procedure.

Legislative context:

  • Adoption and Children Act 2002;
  • Court Rules (Family Procedure) Adoption 2005;
  • Adoption Support Regulations 2005;
  • The Children’s Act 1989;
  • Statutory Instrument 2005 2795 (L22) The Family procedures Adoption Rules;
  • Adoption with a Foreign Element Regulations 2005;
  • Inter Country Adoptions Regulations 2003;
  • Adoptions (Bringing children into the UK) Regulations 2003.

RELEVANT FORMS

The relevant BAAF forms can be found in the Resources and Forms Library.

AMENDMENT

This chapter replaces the existing chapter and should be re-read in its entirety.


Contents

  1. Partner Adoption
  2. Adoption by Others
  3. Local Authority Foster Carer Application - Applying Without the Support of the LA


1. Partner Adoption

Partner adoption comprises the largest category of non agency adoptions and it is important that this work is completed thoroughly and not seen as a ‘rubber stamping’ exercise or a fait accompli.

The task of the social worker is to ensure that all parties know and are aware of the legal and emotional implications of an adoption order, to ascertain the wishes and feelings of the child and the birth parent(s) and to make a recommendation to the court by the furnishing of a report as to whether an adoption order should be made in respect of the applicant.

On request a formal notice of intention to adopt form will be sent to the applicant by the adoption section. For applications by same sex couples, reference must be made to Adoption Statutory Guidance - The Adoption and Children Act 2002 (DfE Feb 2011).

1.1 Referral

When the notification form is returned to fostering and adoption section, it will be viewed as the referral for adoption. This notification will be formally acknowledged by the section. The notice of intention to adopt must be given at least three months prior to an application for an Adoption Order. The applicant in a partner adoption must have lived with the child for at least six months prior to the notification being sent.

The notice indicates the category of non-agency adoption and thus the work to be undertaken. On receipt of the notice, the details and any other available information will be sent to the appropriate team who will allocate a social worker to undertake the work and set up an Adoption Case Record. This should be in the child’s birth name, but papers relating to the child and the family should be held in the file together. The fostering and adoption section must be advised of the name of the social worker appointed within three weeks of receipt.

The effect of a notice of intention to adopt is that restrictions are made on the child’s removal from their home. The child may not be removed for four months beginning with the giving of the notice, except by leave of the court or by a local authority or an authorised person. These restrictions also apply after the application for an adoption order. The notice of intention to adopt expires after two years, if no application for an adoption order is made.

The duty of the social worker is to supervise the welfare of the child and to provide guidance and support.

The notice regarding adoption may come from either the applicant(s) or the solicitor acting for the applicant(s). In cases where an adoption is likely to be contested or the whereabouts of the legal birth parent(s) is unknown, then the applicant(s) should be advised to engage a solicitor.

1.2 Counselling

Counselling should commence as soon as a social worker is appointed, so that alternative orders to adoption can be explored fully with the child and his/her family. The court will expect to know why adoption is considered to be the most appropriate option and this must be discussed at an early stage. In particular, the discussion should address the possibility of a parental responsibility order as an alternative to adoption and a means of securing the future for the child. A parental responsibility order application can only be made by the partner if the couple are married or civil registered. An unmarried or cohabiting partner can not apply for a parental responsibility order. An unmarried or non civil registered partner could acquire parental responsibility by a Child Arrangements Order. A Special Guardianship Order (SGO) is not an alternative to adoption and should not be used in partner adoptions. The only exception is where the birth parent is ill and has limited capacity to exercise their parental responsibility and the SGO will allow the partner Parental Responsibility over and above the birth parent.

The BAAF leaflet ‘Partner Adoption’ will already have been sent to the applicants by the fostering and adoption section; this can be used as a basis for discussion. The purpose of counselling is to ensure that the nature and implications of adoption are understood fully by the child, the prospective adopter(s) and the birth parent(s).

In counselling the prospective adopter(s), must be made aware of the need to obtain personal details of their family/ies for inclusion in the Annex A report for the court. The birth parent applicant should understand that s/he will not need to adopt the child with the new partner, as used to be required. However, it is possible for them to do this is they wish to do so. The effect of an Adoption Order is that they will share the parental responsibility and all legal rights and duties in respect of the child with the partner.

The prospective adopters should be seen at home both jointly and separately. The child should also be seen in the company of the applicants so that a view can be obtained regarding the ‘family’ relationships. Any other residents of the home should be interviewed and appropriate counselling provided.

The child needs to know and have an understanding of his/her birth origins as well as to be aware of the implications of adoption. S/he should be seen alone if the child is old enough (e.g. over five years) and it is important to note that even young children can understand the difference between a ‘parenting’ parent and a ‘birth’ parent.

It is essential that the child's views are recorded and taken into account. Where a child has strong bonds with the absent parent, it is crucial that this matter is given careful consideration. In such cases, it may be that a package of section 8 orders may be a more appropriate recommendation.

Counselling the birth parent or anyone who has parental responsibility for the child is essential. The Adoption Memorandum - Information for Birth Parents should be provided by the social worker and used as a basis for discussion. Written acknowledgement of the receipt of the memorandum should be signed by the birth parent and placed on file. The memorandum has no legal status and does not imply agreement.

Similarly, anyone with parental responsibility and who has played a significant part in the child's life should be counselled and their legal rights explained fully. Reasons for not involving a birth parent or other person with parental responsibility should be recorded in detail on the file.

Any birth parent not agreeing to the proposed adoption plan should be advised to engage a solicitor as soon as possible.

If the child does not know of his or her origins (particularly in step partner adoptions) where the child believes the partner to be their birth parent. The applicant may be given support by the social worker in telling the child about their origins. In cases where parents obstruct attempts to disclaim the true position with the child, it may be necessary, once their application is made, to seek directions from the court.

Note that it is the responsibility of the prospective adopter(s) to give the birth parent(s) address and their views on the proposed adoption to the social worker. This is most important as the social worker needs to contact the birth parent with or without parental responsibility, in order to verify their feelings and wishes regarding the adoption if reasonable or practical. In cases where the birth parent(s) cannot be found using normal channels of enquiry, the social worker may arrange with the prospective adopters to approach the:

Letter Forwarding Service
MO2O1
Durham House
Washington
Tyne & Wear
NE38 7SF

Who may forward a letter to anyone who may be a birth parent. In order for the DWP to do this, full details of the person's date of birth, full name, previous address(es) and employment must be furnished. The court may request the Local Authority to make further investigations and assist the applicant in finding the birth parent but there is no duty to trace.

The views and wishes of the wider family are also likely to be relevant and the social worker will need to consider whom it will be necessary to approach. This may be a matter of special significance if the child’s non resident birth parent is dead. Where there is contact between the child and grandparents it will be necessary for all the family members to consider how the making of an adoption order might affect their relationship.

1.3 Contact

Issues of any on going contact should be discussed fully with the child, the prospective adopters and the birth parent(s). Such arrangements may be made informally if all parties are in agreement. However, in the event of a dispute, it may be necessary to consider the recommendations of a section 8 order to run alongside the adoption order.

1.4 References

The social worker must instigate the completion of the statutory references at an early stage in the counselling process. This includes checks with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), Health Authority and the local authority Child.

Protection Section on both the birth parent and the prospective adopter and any other member of the household over 18 years. The written permission of the applicants and other household members is required for these checks to be undertaken. See Retention of DBS Records - to follow.

Medical reports are not generally required for partner adoptions; however, if there is a significant health issue then a medical can be arranged via the adoption section on the request of the social worker.

1.5 Assessment and Recording

A record of the counselling work must be noted fully on the adoption case file. The result /outcome of the statutory checks must also be recorded. An assessment must be made as to the suitability of the applicants to adopt the child in order that a recommendation can be made to the court. It is important to refer to the Annex A requirements to ensure that full information is compiled.

1.6 Court Work and Preparation of Annex A Report

1.6.1 Lodging the Application

After three months has elapsed since the notice of intention to adopt was sent, the prospective adopter can fill in the adoption application forms. These should be completed in triplicate and submitted with the child's original / long birth certificate and the applicants' marriage or civil partnership certificate (if applicable). If the application is likely to be contested, then the social worker should liaise with the applicants' solicitor regarding the timing and submission of the application forms and reports. It is likely that the solicitor will deal with all application forms. Unless the court directs otherwise, the first directions hearing must be within four weeks beginning with the date on which the application is issued, when a timetable for filing of reports etc will be set. Legal aid is available is some cases, particularly if it is a complex situation. If the applicants are on income support the applicant can apply to the court to waive the court fee.

1.6.2 Annex A Reports in Respect of Non Agency Adoptions

The social worker will be notified by the fostering and adoption section of the need to complete the Annex A report. This report, in non agency adoptions, is exactly the same as that written in respect of agency adoption placements. The report must be prepared within the timescale fixed by the court. No extensions are likely to be given and any possible delay must be explained to the court at the earliest opportunity. Three copies of the completed report must be sent to the court with a covering memo. The reports should be countersigned by the social work team manager.

1.6.3 CAFCASS

In any adoption proceedings the court will appoint a children’s guardian if a parent is opposing the application and the child becomes a party to the proceedings. Otherwise CAFCASS will appoint a reporting officer or a children and family reporter. This person is independent of the court and all agencies.

The role of the reporting officer is to ensure that the consent of the birth parent with parental responsibility is given unconditionally and in the full understanding of the nature and effect of the order. The officer also needs to witness the parent’s signature of their consent. The reporting officer should investigate all the circumstances relevant to the parent giving consent to ensure their rights are protected. It is not necessary for the CAFCASS officer to see the child. The form A104 will be used by the non resident birth parent to sign their consent and a slightly different form will be used for the continuing birth parent. See Form A104 - to follow.

CAFCASS will appoint a children and family reporter to advise the court on matters relating to the welfare of the child. As the child is not party to the proceedings, the child and family reporter does not appoint a solicitor for the child.

The social worker must attend court with the applicants.


2. Adoption by Others

In this situation, anyone who has had the care of the child for any three years in the past five years, can apply to adopt. This is likely to cover situations such as adoption by relatives or private foster carers. The task of the social worker is to ensure that all parties know and are aware of the legal and emotional implications of an adoption order, to ascertain the wishes and feelings of the child and the birth parent(s) and to make a recommendation to the court by the furnishing of a report as to whether an adoption order should be made in respect of the applicant. On request, a formal notice of intention to adopt form will be sent to the applicant(s) by the fostering and adoption section.

2.1 Referral

When the notification form is returned to fostering and adoption section, it will be viewed as the referral for adoption. This notification will be formally acknowledged by the section. The notice of intention to adopt must be given at least three months prior to an application for an Adoption Order. However, the applicant can request leave of the court to apply earlier.

The notice indicates the category of non-agency adoption and thus the work to be undertaken. On receipt of the notice, the details and any other available information will be sent to the team who will allocate a social worker to undertake the work and set up an Adoption Case Record. This should be in the child’s birth name, but papers relating to the child and the family should be held in the file together. The fostering and adoption section must be advised of the name of the social worker appointed within three weeks of receipt.

The effect of a notice of intention to adopt is that restrictions are made on the child’s removal from their home. The child may not be removed for four months beginning with the giving of the notice, except by leave of the court or by a local authority or an authorised person. These restrictions also apply after the application for an adoption order. The notice of intention to adopt expires after years, if no application for an adoption order is made.

The notification of intention to adopt may come from either the applicant(s) or the solicitor acting for the applicant(s). Note that it is not usually necessary for the applicant(s) to engage a solicitor where the birth parent(s) is in agreement with the adoption plan. In cases where an adoption plan is likely to be contested or the whereabouts of the legal birth parent(s) is unknown, then the applicant(s) should be advised to engage a solicitor.

2.2 Counselling

Counselling should commence as soon as a social worker is appointed, so that sufficient time is allowed to consider the lifelong impact of adoption on the child and family. The court will expect to know why adoption is considered to be most appropriate and this must be discussed at an early stage. Alternative orders, such as Special Guardianship or Child Arrangements Orders should be discussed and considered by the family as these may be more appropriate. The social worker should advise the family when they should make their application.

The prospective adopter(s) should be clear that the social work involvement is important to the decision making regarding adoption and is not a means to the end result of an Adoption Order. The purpose of counselling is to ensure that the nature and implications of adoption are understood fully by the child, the prospective adopter(s) and the birth parent(s).

In counselling the prospective adopters, they should be made aware of the need to obtain personal details of their family/lies for inclusion in the Annex A report for the court. Counselling issues will need to include a full discussion on the impact of adoption. This is particularly relevant where the application is by a family member and relationships within the family may become distorted because of the adoption. The likely effect of this on the child and others - e.g. a grandparent may become the child's mother on the making of the Adoption Order and, by implication, the birth mother become the child's sibling, should be fully explored.

The prospective adopters should be seen at home, both jointly and separately. The child should also be seen in the company of the applicants so that a view can be obtained regarding the ‘family’ relationships. Any other residents of the home should be interviewed and appropriate counselling provided.

The child needs to know and have an understanding of his/her birth origins as well as to be aware of the implications of adoption. S/he should be seen alone if the child is old enough (e.g. over five years) and it is important to note that even young children can understand the difference between a ‘parenting’ parent and a "birth" parent.

It is essential that the child's views are recorded and taken into account. Where a child has strong bonds with the birth parent, it is crucial that this matter is given careful consideration. In such cases, it may be that a package of section 8 orders, a Special Guardianship Order, or a Child Arrangements Order may be a more appropriate recommendation.

Counselling the birth parent or anyone who has Parental Responsibility for the child is essential. The adoption memorandum - information for birth parents should be provided by the social worker and used as a basis for discussion. Written acknowledgement of the receipt of the memorandum should be signed by the birth parent and placed on file. The memorandum has no legal status and does not imply agreement. Similarly, anyone with parental responsibility and who has played a significant part in the child's life should be counselled and their legal rights explained fully. Reasons for not involving a birth parent or other person with parental responsibility should be recorded in detail on the file. Any birth parent not agreeing to the proposed adoption plan should be advised to engage a solicitor as soon as possible.

Note that it is the responsibility of the prospective adopter(s) to give the birth parent(s) address and their views on the proposed adoption to the social worker. This is most important as the social worker needs to contact the birth parent in order to verify their feelings and wishes regarding the adoption. In cases where the birth parent(s) cannot be found using normal channels of enquiry, the social worker may arrange with the prospective adopters to approach the:

Letter Forwarding Service
MO2O1
Durham House
Washington
Tyne & Wear
NE38 7SF

Who may forward a letter to anyone who may be a birth parent. In order for the DWP to do this, full details of the person's date of birth, full name, previous address(es) and employment must be furnished.

2.3 Contact

Issues of any on going contact should be discussed fully with the child, the prospective adopters and the birth parent(s). Such arrangements may be made informally if all parties are in agreement. However, in the event of a dispute, it may be necessary to consider the recommendations of a section 8 order to run alongside the adoption order.

2.4 References

The social worker must instigate the completion of the statutory references at an early stage in the counselling process. This includes checks with the DBS, Health Authority and the local authority Child Protection Section on both the birth parent and the prospective adopter and any other member of the household over 18 years. The written permission of the applicants and other household members is required for these checks to be undertaken. See Retention of DBS Records - to follow.

Three personal references are required, only one of which may be from a family member.

2.5 Health Reports

Arrangements for health reports are the responsibility of the fostering and adoption section. On receipt of the notification of intention to adopt, the fostering and adoption section will acknowledge the receipt of the notification and request from the applicants the details of their GP and the child’s GP and their permission to seek health information. The applicants will be advised to arrange a health assessment with their GP and the child’s GP, using the appropriate BAAF health forms. The prospective adopters are responsible for the costs and it should be note that these health assessments are relatively expensive.

Three copies of reports, made not more than three months earlier on the health of the child and of each applicant, must be attached to an application for adoption. The court will then return a full set of health reports to the fostering and adoption section in order that the adoption medical adviser can interpret the details and provide a medical summary for inclusion in the social work Annex A report.

Form PH (Health information on the birth parents) should be completed by the birth parent(s) in conjunction with the social worker and returned to the fostering and adoption section, so that the medical advisor can assess this.

2.6 Assessment and Recording

A record of the counselling work must be noted fully on the adoption case file. The result /outcome of the statutory checks must also be recorded. An assessment must be made as to the suitability of the applicants to adopt the child in order that a recommendation can be made to the court. It is important to refer to the Annex A requirements to ensure that full information is compiled.

2.7 Court Work and Preparation of Annex A Report

After three months has elapsed since the notice of intention to adopt was sent, the prospective adopter can fill in the adoption application forms. These should be completed in triplicate and submitted with the child's original / long birth certificate, a copy of any court orders in respect of the child and the applicants' marriage or civil partnership certificate (if applicable). The applicants are responsible for the court fees.

If the application is likely to be contested, then the social worker should liaise with the applicants’ solicitor regarding the timing and submission of the application forms and reports. It is likely that the solicitor will deal with all application forms.

2.8 Annex A reports in respect of non agency adoptions

The social worker will be notified by the fostering and adoption section of the need to complete the Annex A report. This report, in non agency adoptions, is exactly the same as that written in respect of agency adoption placements. The report must be prepared within the timescale fixed by the court. No extensions are likely to be given and any possible delay must be explained to the court at the earliest opportunity. Three copies of the completed report must be sent to the court with a covering memo. The reports should be countersigned by the social work team manager.

2.9 CAFCASS

In this non agency adoption proceedings, the court will appoint a children’s guardian. This person will be independent of the court and all agencies.

The social worker must attend the court with the applicants.


3. LA Foster Carer Application - Applying Without the Support of the LA

In this situation foster carers who have had the child in placement with them for the past year can apply for an adoption order, once they have given three months notice of their intention to do so. The task of the social worker is to ensure that all parties know and are aware of the legal and emotional implications of an adoption order, to ascertain the wishes and feelings of the child and the birth parent(s) and to make a recommendation to the court by the furnishing of a report as to whether an adoption order should be made in respect of the applicant.

 On request, a formal notice of intention to adopt form will be sent to the applicant by fostering and adoption section.

This type of non agency application should be a rare occurrence, as efforts should be made to encourage foster carers to work in partnership with the agency, in order to meet the needs of the child. If necessary, consideration should be given to the foster carer’s request to adopt the child, by bringing the matter to the adoption panel. Early advice should be sought from both the legal services section and the team manager / fostering and adoption, if a foster carer wishes to proceed with an adoption application.

3.1 Referral

When the notification form is returned to fostering and adoption section, it will be viewed as the referral for adoption. This notification will be formally acknowledged by the section. The notice of intention to adopt must be given at least three months prior to an application for an adoption order. However, the applicant can apply for leave of the court to apply earlier.

The notice indicates the category of non-agency adoption and thus the work to be undertaken. On receipt of the notice, the details and any other available information will be sent to the social work team, which covers the area where the foster parents live. If there are extreme circumstances which make this inappropriate, the team manager/fostering and adoption will negotiate with another team to undertake this work and set up an adoption case record. This should be in the child’s birth name, but papers relating to the child and the family should be held in the file together. The social worker should ideally belong to a different team to the child’s social worker. The fostering and adoption section must be advised of the name of the social worker appointed within three weeks of receipt of the notification.

The effect of a notice of intention to adopt is that restrictions are made on the child’s removal from their home. The child may not be removed for four months beginning with the giving of the notice, except by leave of the court or by a local authority or an authorised person. These restrictions also apply after the application for an adoption order. The notice of intention to adopt expires after two years, if no application for an adoption order is made.

The notification of intention to adopt may come from either the applicant(s) or the solicitor acting for the applicant(s). In cases where an adoption plan is likely to be contested or the whereabouts of the legal birth parent(s is unknown, then the applicant(s) should be advised to engage a solicitor.

3.2 Counselling

Counselling should commence as soon as a social worker is appointed, so that sufficient time is allowed to consider the lifelong impact of adoption on the child and family. Courts will expect to know why adoption is considered to be most appropriate and this must be discussed at an early stage. Alternative orders, such as Special Guardianship or Child Arrangements Orders should be discussed and considered by the family, as these may be more appropriate. The social worker should advise the family when they should make their application to court. The prospective adopter(s) should be clear that the social work involvement is important to the decision making regarding adoption and is not a means to the end result of an adoption order. The purpose of counselling is to ensure that the nature and implications of adoption are understood fully by the child, the prospective adopter(s) and the birth parent(s).

In counselling the prospective adopters, they should be made aware of the need to obtain personal details of their family/lies for inclusion in the Annex A report for the court. It is likely that foster carers will remember how their form F (prospective foster carer) report was completed and be used to the level of detail required.

Counselling issues will need to include a full discussion on the impact of adoption. The prospective adopters should be seen at home, both jointly and separately. The child should also be seen in the company of the applicants so that a view can be obtained regarding the ‘family’ relationships. Any other residents of the home should be interviewed and appropriate counselling provided.

The child needs to know and have an understanding of his/her birth origins as well as to be aware of the implications of adoption. S/he should be seen alone if the child is old enough (e.g. over five years) and it is important to note that even young children can understand the difference between a ‘parenting’ parent and a ‘birth’ parent.

It is essential that the child's views are recorded and taken into account. Where a child has strong bonds with the birth parent, it is crucial that this matter is given careful consideration. In such cases, it may be that a package of section 8 orders, a Special Guardianship Order, or a Child Arrangements Order may be a more appropriate recommendation.

Counselling the birth parent or anyone who has parental responsibility for the child is essential. The adoption memorandum - information for birth parents should be provided by the social worker and used as a basis for discussion. Written acknowledgement of the receipt of the memorandum should be signed by the birth parent and placed on file. The memorandum has no legal status and does not imply agreement. Similarly, anyone with parental responsibility and who has played a significant part in the child's life should be counselled and their legal rights explained fully. Reasons for not involving a birth parent or other person with parental responsibility should be recorded in detail on the file.

Any birth parent not agreeing to the proposed adoption plan should be advised to engage a solicitor as soon as possible.

Note that it is the responsibility of the prospective adopter(s) to give the birth parent(s) address and their views on the proposed adoption to the social worker. This is most important as the social worker needs to contact the birth parent with or without parental responsibility, in order to verify their feelings and wishes regarding the adoption if reasonable or practical. In cases where the birth parent(s) cannot be found using normal channels of enquiry, the social worker may arrange with the prospective adopters to approach the:

Letter Forwarding Service
MO2O1
Durham House
Washington
Tyne & Wear
NE38 7SF

Who may forward a letter to anyone who may be a birth parent. In order for the DWP to do this, full details of the person's date of birth, full name, previous address(es) and employment must be furnished.

3.3 Contact

Issues of any on going contact should be discussed fully with the child, the prospective adopters and the birth parent(s). Such arrangements may be made informally if all parties are in agreement. However, in the event of a dispute, it may be necessary to consider the recommendations of a section 8 order to run alongside the adoption order.

3.4 References

The social worker must instigate the completion of the statutory references at an early stage in the counselling process. This includes checks with the DBS, Health Authority and the local authority child protection section. The written permission of the applicants and other household members is required for these checks to be undertaken. See Retention of DBS Records - to follow.

Three personal references are required, only one of which may be from a family member.

3.5 Health Assessments

Health assessments are required in respect of the child and the prospective applicants. Arrangements for medicals are the responsibility of the fostering and adoption section. However, form PH (Medical information on the birth parents) should be completed by the birth parent(s) in conjunction with the social worker and returned to the section.

On receipt of the notification of intention to adopt, the fostering and adoption section will acknowledge the receipt of the notification and request from the applicants the details of their GP and the child’s GP and their permission to seek health information. The applicants will be advised to arrange a health assessment with their GP and the child’s GP, using the appropriate BAAF health forms. The prospective adopters are responsible for the costs and it should be note that these health assessments are relatively expensive.

The applicants are required to lodge three copies of the health assessments with their application to adopt. The court will then return a full set of health reports to the fostering and adoption section in order that the adoption medical adviser can interpret the details and provide a medical summary for inclusion in the social work Annex A report.

3.6 Assessment and Recording

A record of the counselling work must be noted fully on the adoption case file. The result /outcome of the statutory checks must also be recorded. An assessment must be made as to the suitability of the applicants to adopt the child in order that a recommendation can be made to the court. It is important to refer to the Annex A requirements to ensure that full information is compiled.

3.7 Court Work and Preparation of Annex A Report

After three months has elapsed since the notice of intention to adopt was sent, the prospective adopter can fill in the adoption application forms. These should be completed in triplicate and submitted with the child's original / long birth certificate and the applicants' marriage or civil partnership certificate (if applicable). If the application is likely to be contested, then the social worker should liaise with the applicants’ solicitor regarding the timing and submission of the application forms and reports. It is likely that the solicitor will deal with all application forms.

3.8 Annex A Reports in Respect of Non Agency Adoptions

The social worker will be notified by the fostering and adoption section of the need to complete the Annex A report. This report, in non agency adoptions, is exactly the same as that written in respect of agency adoption placements. The report must be prepared within the timescale fixed by the court. No extensions are likely to be given and any possible delay must be explained to the court at the earliest opportunity. Three copies of the completed report must be sent to the court with a covering memo. The reports should be countersigned by the social work team manager.

3.9 CAFCASS

In this non agency adoption proceedings, the court will appoint a children’s guardian. This person will be independent of the court and all agencies.

The social worker must attend the court with the applicants.

End