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Adoption rules and agencies vs LA

Avocado April 25, 2019 20:05

Prospective adopter here and trying to get an idea of how this works. Are there laws regulating the adoption procedure or are the SWs free to make up their own rules?

I've been reading these forums and making notes but there is much conflicting information. Posters are given entirely different advice by their SWs it seems!

We went on a couple of info nights and often the SW answered questions with "my manager will decide". When people pressed, asking is there a rule to give us an idea? The SW would say yes, there is a rule (say there is a 5 year time limit on a requirement) but even if you fulfil the rule, my manager still will decide in the end.

They didn't even try to give the impression that the procedure is concrete and universal, they kept saying, sure we have some guidelines but the final decision is up to us!!! It felt quite wrong and we are not going back with them, now planning more info nights with other organisations.

Same thing I see on here:

Some people do 10 days of voluntary work with children across the year, others are in rainbows for 2 years now and are told they need to diversify their volunteer work. Some were told there is a 45 year gap between adopter and child, others got babies when both parents were over 50. Some are told at matching stage to register interest in no more than 2 child profiles, others were told 5 at a time. One SW told a poster their BMI should be 40, another told them 35. What are the actual rules?

Also, one last thing, is a voluntary agency or local authority the best way to go?

Any advice appreciated,


MellowGreens April 25, 2019 20:42

There is statutory guidence on adoption, but in many things different agencies and organisations have their own requirements and peculiarities. In addition at different times they may have a different range of children's needs they are recruiting for.

Often, in my opinion, it can be useful to contact a few local authorites and VAs located near your home and see which one you have the best interaction with.

Avocado April 25, 2019 20:55

Wow thanks MellowGreens! I just googled what you wrote, 'statutory guidance for Adoption uk' and found the site with a 244 page document!

Which I'm going to scan through and finally get some actual info.

Thanks ever so much!

Did you go with VA or with LA, if you don't mind me asking?

Edited 25/04/19
MellowGreens April 26, 2019 09:03

I adopted via an LA, although when first contacting various places there were several LAs that put me off and some VAs that were encouraging. I actually think it can have as much to do with which social worker you speak to as it does which organisation they work for.

If I had paid any attention to the first person I spoke to at an LA when I called in I never would have adopted at all. It is the best thing I have ever done so don't let your first few contacts put you off.

Edited 26/04/19
Avocado April 26, 2019 22:05

Thank you, it's good to know I'm not the only one feeling this way! We will book more info evenings over the summer. Very grateful for your help, MellowGreens!

Edited 26/04/19
chestnuttree April 27, 2019 20:59

Same here. Our first contact wasn't exactly encouraging. However, we just would not have been suitable for the children that LA was looking to place at that time. We went with a VA in the end and they were excellent.

It might be good to keep in mind though that LAs "have" the children and place the very young and easy to place ones mostly themselves. VAs mostly place older and harder to place children. Harder to place does not equal harder to parent though. It can just mean the parents need to be of a certain ethnicity. Or for some reason the LA has not been able to find a suitable match and are now starting to look nationwide.

I would look for the right chemistry between you and the agency. The agencies can only make so many rules universal, because people are different. Someone might learn what they need to learn very quickly, while it takes someone else much longer. Different people need to work through different things. You have to trust your social worker and their expertise. We are 7 years into our adoption and I still sometimes think of things my sw said. She was very experienced and wise and I learned heaps from her. If she had told me to volunteer for a year, I would have done it. Don't loose heart and good luck!


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