What is a panel?

Everyone who wants to adopt a child in the UK has to go before an adoption panel. All adoption panels are regulated so that proceedings are conducted in a fair and consistent way, and the rights and interests of the children, their birth parents and their prospective adoptive parents are fully considered and respected.

What do panels do?

Adoption panels' main responsibilities are to decide:

  • whether adoption is the right plan for a child
  • whether prospective adopters should be approved to adopt
  • if a specific match between children and prospective adoptive parents should go ahead

Who is on a panel?

The panel has 10 members, all chosen for their expertise and interest in adoption. Before you attend the panel, we'll give you a booklet that explains who will be the particular panel you are attending.

Who else will be there?

Parents for Children's Adoption and Fostering Manager will attend, as will your Parents for Children social worker.

How does the panel work?

All panel members receive full written information before they meet. The panel date will be set well in advance, so you'll have plenty of notice. The panel will probably have some questions to ask your social worker and you, then you will have the opportunity to ask questions of the panel members.

I get very nervous – do I have to attend?

Going to panel can seem very scary, but most adopters are pleased that they did attend, however nerve-racking it was at the time!

Just remember that adoption panels all want to do whatever is in the best interest of children whose early life has been severely disrupted, and who now need the best chance of a happy, secure and stable family life so they can develop to their full potential.

How many people are successful?

The long and through assessment process that you will have gone through with your Parents for Children social worker means that most prospective adopters who go to panel have a successful outcome.

When do I find out?

The panel itself does not make the final decision – they make a recommendation that will be given to you after the meeting. Parents for Children's director has responsibility for making the final decision, after giving careful consideration to the panel’s recommendation. This decision must be made within seven working days of the panel meeting.

What happens next?

If you were successful, the next step is to work with Parents for Children to identify a suitable child to adopt. If a child has already been identified for you, your application will go forward to the relevant local authority.