What is involved in assessment?

Here is a picture of a boy with Downs syndrome beside a tree. Adopting a child with special needs can be both difficult and rewarding, and both Parents for Children and the local authority with responsibility for the child have a duty to ensure that every prospective adopter has been properly assessed and received high quality and relevant training before a child is placed in their care. The assessment and training process can seem, to many adopters, to take too long. After all, the decision to adopt is not one that people reach quickly, so all in all it can be many months from beginning to think about applying to actually meeting your child.

How long will it all take?

The assessment process can be lengthy – it may take up to six months – but it is designed to prepare you fully for what lies ahead and to make sure that there is the best possible fit between new family and child.

Your Parents for Children social worker will meet you several times to talk in depth about adoption and about your family. Honesty is very important on both sides. We are committed to being totally honest with you and we ask you to be just as honest with us. As we go through the process, if you have any concerns at all, please don't hesitate to talk to us.

What will we discuss?

Your social worker will want to discuss

  • Your background and childhood experiences. We know from research that the good relationships you've made in the past help to make good attachments in adulthood.
  • Your medical history. We'll provide a medical report form so your own GP can carry out a full medical. The Parents for Children medical adviser will read the results and may want to discuss some aspects with your doctor. If this happens, we will let you kn ow in advance.
  • The sort of family experience you are offering. We'll discuss your previous experience of looking after children and your experience of disability.
  • The age of child you are looking to adopt
  • Your views on religion and the practice you observe, if any
  • The current relationships within your family
  • Your home circumstances – do you have space for another child?
  • Your financial circumstances – do you have the financial resources to support a child?
  • The children already in your family. It's very important for them to be involved in the adoption discussions and process
  • Your understanding of adoption. Your group preparation meetings will have given you some insight, but in our experience your understanding of what's involved will continue to grow during the assessment process.

After assessment

Once your assessment is complete, your social worker will write a report, which you will see and be asked to contribute to. When you have both agreed the final version of the report, this is sent to the Adoption Panel.

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