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Assessment and approval

Initial contact

When you contact us, you’ll have a telephone discussion with a duty social worker from the Adoption Team. We will ask you to come to an information evening, which will give you the opportunity to find out more and decide if adoption is right for you.

Information evening

Our small, informal adoption information evenings are held once a month (see below) from 6:30 - 8:30pm in the evening. They're the perfect opportunity for you to understand more about adoption and about the process.

You’ll have the chance to ask as many questions as you wish, we'll also try to have one of our adoptive parents there too, who will share their story. If you decide to proceed, we’ll arrange an initial interview.

Adoption information evenings dates:

  • Wednesday 6th February
  • Wednesday 6th March
  • Wednesday 3rd April
  • Wednesday 1st May
  • Wednesday 5th June
  • Wednesday 3rd July
  • Wednesday 7th August
  • Wednesday 4th September
  • Wednesday 2nd October
  • Wednesday 6th November
  • Wednesday 4th December

Held at Bedford Borough Hall, Cauldwell Street, Bedford, MK42 9AP.

Please call 01234 718718 or email adoptionandfostering@bedford.gov.uk to book a place.

Parking is available on site. Please ask when you arrive.

Initial interview

At this meeting a social worker will discuss with you in more detail what is involved and answer any questions you may prefer to ask in private. It’s a chance to have an informal chat about why you want to adopt and for us let you know more about the assessment process.

Following the initial interview, we will discuss with you, the timing of your progression to Stage 1 and the completion of the Registration of Interest (ROI).

If you would like to talk to a member of our team call us on 01234 718718 or email adoptionandfostering@bedford.gov.uk

What does the assessment involve?

Three childrenThere are two stages to the assessment process:

  • Stage 1 takes two months, is led by you and involves all the statutory checks.
  • Stage 2 takes four months and is more in-depth.

Stage 1

We will take up checks and references with:

  • The police
  • The local authority
  • Your employers (where appropriate)
  • Your landlord or mortgage company

In addition:

  • We will ask you to supply us with the details of people who can comment on your suitability to adopt
  • You will be required to have a medical with your GP.
  • We will ask you to attend training designed to support you in thinking about exactly what is involved in adopting children who need new families.
  • We recommend that you increase your experience with children and can support you to identify opportunities to do this.

Once we have collected all this information we will have a discussion with you and make a decision about whether to take your application on to Stage 2 of the approval process.

Your social worker will let you know our decision verbally and in writing.

The government has designed this two-stage process to ensure that those who enter Stage 2 are in a position to move forward with their application and are likely to be approved as adopters for the kind of children requiring families.

Stage 2

This is where we get to know you a lot better. In this stage, one of our social workers will visit you at home on a number of occasions to complete a Prospective Adopters Report (PAR).

We’ll also invite you to attend more training to prepare you for adoption. Once the assessment is completed you will receive a copy and are invited to make any comments about it.

The assessment is then presented to the Adoption Panel.

The adoption panel will consider all the information gathered during the assessment process and make a recommendation on your suitability to be an adoptive parent. You will have the opportunity to attend the panel if you wish.

The process may seem daunting, but it is very important that it is thorough and right, for both you and us.

If you’d like a chat, call 01234 718718 or email adoptionandfostering@bedford.gov.uk

What happens when I'm approved as an adoptive parent?

Once you are approved to adopt, we will begin the search for a child whose needs you can meet. The matching process is vitally important as adoption is for life.

Once a child has been identified, you will meet the child’s social worker so you can find out more about him or her.

It’s very important that you feel positive about the child and that the child’s social worker feels that you would be well placed to care for the child.

A lot of detailed information is exchanged, including what contact arrangements are to remain in place with members of the child’s birth family.

If you and the social workers involved with you and the child want to progress with the match, this will again be presented to the Adoption Panel, who will make a recommendation about the proposed match.

Once a child is placed with you, we will continue to visit and support. You can apply for an adoption order after the child has been placed with you for a minimum of 10 weeks.

If you’d like a chat, call 01234 718718 or email adoptionandfostering@bedford.gov.uk

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