How to apply

Step 1 - make the initial enquiry
Step 2 - the initial visit
Step 3 - the counselling stage
Step 4 - attend a preparation course
Step 5 - making an application
Step 6 - preparation and assessment
Step 7 - the end of the assessment process
Step 8 - the adoption panel
Step 9 - matching you to a child
Step 10 - placement of a child
Step 11 - the adoption order

Step 1 - make the initial enquiry

Firstly contact your local authority adoption agency, in Blaenau Gwent this is the:

The South East Wales Adoption Service
North Wing
2nd Floor, Block B
Mamhilad House
Mamhilad Park Estate
Pontypool
Torfaen
NP4 0HZ
Telephone: (01495) 355753 or 355764
Email: adoption@blaenau-gwent.gov.uk

You can ask to speak to an adoption worker for an informal chat or just request an information pack.  If available at the time you can speak to an adoption social worker about your interest or someone can phone you back later.  An information pack will be sent to you.

Step 2 - the initial visit

After you have read and considered the information pack and you would like to talk more about the possibility of adoption, please contact us here at the Blaenau Gwent Adoption Team and if you agree, a social worker from our adoption team will contact you following your enquiry and offer to arrange to visit with you.  This visit gives you an opportunity to find out a lot more about adoption and the process and what will happen if you decide to go ahead.

Step 3 - the counselling stage

If after hearing more about adoption from the social worker you are interested in proceeding further as you think adoption might be right for you then the adoption social worker will undertake a counselling visit with you.  Sometimes this will be one or two visits but sometimes may require a few more.  The counselling visits give you the opportunity to discuss with the social worker what you want out of adoption and what you feel you can offer a child and help you to be sure that it is right for you. It will allow you and the social worker to consider adoption issues in greater depth and in specific relation to your own circumstances.

The social worker will then write a counselling report and discuss this with the adoption team manager, based upon the counselling report and initial information; the team manager will then make a decision as to whether the agency will invite your application.  Some-times a decision may be made to seek further information before proceeding, for example to undertake an early health check, obtain references or to seek information from other agencies.

Step 4 - attend a preparation course

All potential adoptive applicants should be provided the opportunity to attend a preparing to adopt training course.  It is a general expectation that all prospective adopters attend this training.  The training courses are available at various times throughout the year and consist of 3 full day sessions usually Friday to Sunday.  The sessions are attended by others who are considering becoming adoptive parents.  The training goes into detail of the types of children who require adoptive homes and the challenges that they and their adoptive families face.

Step 5 - making an application

If the agency decides it is appropriate and you would like to proceed then you will be invited to apply to be assessed as a prospective adoptive parent.  Your social worker will complete an application form with you and this will be the start of the assessment process. If you decide to go ahead you will be asked to give permission for checks to be made by the police and local authority.  Having checks made on you may sound daunting.  But it’s worth remembering that agencies have to carry out these checks to rule out anyone who has committed a serious crime, such as violence or offences against children.

You will also be asked to have a medical with your own GP.

Step 6 - preparation and assessment

If your application is accepted, you will begin a longer period of preparation and assessment, working in partnership with your social worker.  Preparation is a time when you can find out about adoption in a lot more detail, and do some very important thinking about making a lifetime commitment to a child.  Part of the agency’s job is to give you a lot of information about adoption, including the sorts of children available in your area.

You have a crucial role to play at this time.  These weeks are a chance for you to take a very honest look at what you want out of adoption and what you can offer a child waiting for adoption (many of whom may be quite demanding).  You will have time to think about all the important issues.  What are the needs of an adopted child?  What are your strengths and weaknesses as an adoptive parent likely to be?  Can you make the sort of commitment that will really make a difference to a child’s life?

While you are learning about adoption from the agency, the agency will begin to assess your suitability to adopt by building up a thorough profile of you.  This is known as the assessment or ‘Form F’.  A social worker from the agency will make several visits to your home and ask you detailed questions about your own family background, your childhood and your present circumstances.  If you are applying as a couple, the social worker will want to see you together and individually. You will also have to have a full medical examination with your own GP, and you will be asked to provide a minimum of three personal referees.

The assessment process is demanding, it can feel intrusive and it will take several months to complete.  But there are good reasons why everything is explored in depth with you.  Adoption is for life, and the agency must be sure you are right for the role.  Just as importantly, you must be certain you can make a success of it.

Step 7 - the end of the assessment process

At the end of the assessment process, you and the social worker will have worked together to produce a ‘Form F’ assessment report.  The report includes a detailed assessment of you as a potential adoptive parent, along with the results of the medical, police and local authority checks and your personal referees.  A key part of the report is for you to decide the sort of child or children you feel you could adopt.  Could you, for example, look after a child with a physical or learning difficulty?  What age range would you consider?  And how many children would you take?

You are entitled to see most of the assessment report (except the references and health report) and will have the opportunity to comment on what is written.

Step 8 - the adoption panel

Once it is completed and your comments have been added, the assessment report goes forward to an adoption panel - a group of social workers, other professionals and independent people including past adoptive parents and adopted adults.  Your social worker will attend the panel to answer any questions from panel members.  You will be invited to go along to meet the panel but the choice is yours.  Once they have considered the report, the panel will recommend whether or not you should be approved as an adoptive parent.  You will usually be notified of the adoption panel’s recommendation on the same day.  Based on the panel’s recommendation, the agency will then decide whether or not to approve you within about a week of the panel meeting.

Step 9 - matching you to a child

Once you are approved, the agency will begin to consider whether there are children waiting for adoption locally who might be a suitable match for you.  In some cases the agency may already have children in mind for you and this process would start more quickly (but not until you’ve been approved).  Your agency will begin the matching process by looking at the profiles of children you have been approved to adopt by the adoption panel.

In Blaenau Gwent we are a member of an adoption consortium; this is a partnership of other local authority adoption agencies and includes Caerphilly, Torfaen, Newport and Monmouthshire.  This means that once approved, the process of searching for a suitable match will take place both locally and within the partner authority areas.  If after three months a suitable match has not been identified then you will have the option of being placed on the National Adoption Register which will begin to consider possible matches throughout the UK.

Step 10 - placement of a child

Once a child or children have been identified as possibly suitable for you, you will be given full information about their background and, if you want to proceed, you will meet the child or children.  If you all agree, and after a gradual period of introduction, your adoptive child or children will come to live with you and become part of your new family.  Remember, you are not on your own now - your social worker will be able to offer you support and advice after placement, and will be responsible for keeping in touch with you all until the adoption is finalised.  You should talk to your social worker about what adoption support services are available in your area.  Your child may also need to keep links with their birth family, and this will be fully discussed with you before you decide to go ahead.

Step 11 - the adoption order

When your adoptive child has successfully settled down in your family, you will be able to apply to the court for an adoption order to be made.  Once the order is made, all rights and responsibilities originally held by the birth parents transfer to you.

Contact Information

C2BG
Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council
Civic Centre
Ebbw Vale
Gwent, NP23 6XB

Telephone: (01495) 315700
Fax: (01495) 353350
Minicom: (01495) 355959

For information enquiries:

Email : info@blaenau-gwent.gov.uk

For referrals:

Email : DutyTeam@blaenau-gwent.gcsx.gov.uk