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Adoption Panels

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Scott C-R September 12, 2019 12:08

Tuesday 24th September 2019 - 8pm

Caroline - an adoptive parent and Panel Chair will answer questions on all things Panels.

Whether you are currently going through your assessment and heading towards panel, or are heading to Matching panel, then please leave your questions below.

If you are already an established family and wish to ask other questions about panels, which may provide additional support to those in approval, again, please leave your questions/comments below.

Those of you who will be able to join us live, please ensure that you have a registered account and that your community profile has been completed.

NOTE: The second Live Q&A will be on 22nd October - 8pm - with the theme "Education".

Edited 17/09/19
Scott C-R September 17, 2019 11:37

This thread is now open for logging your questions for the Live Chat next Tuesday. I am going to kick it off:

Question: Is there a genuine need to ask any questions when prospective parents come to Panel, when they have been answered in the reports? Often it can appear to be just asking a question for asking a questions sake. :-)

Scott

Donatella September 17, 2019 12:16

I’d say yes because frankly not all reports are of the same quality! Not all sws are equally experienced. Panel members need to be able to read between the lines in the same way as prospective adopters need to be able to read between the lines of a CPR. Sometimes it’s the stuff that’s not included that’s key!

Scott C-R September 17, 2019 12:37

Hi Donatella.

Thanks. It was a general question for the Q&A and to kick things off.

Scott

Donatella September 17, 2019 13:33

Duh ... okay!

1) How knowledgeable are panel members about the day up day reality of raising adoptees?

2) Do panel members understand trauma bonds?

3) How much awareness is there amongst panel members of the prevalence of, eg fas/d?

4) How much importance do they place on the need for ongoing support post placement and what is their role in ensuring prospective adopters are aware of any future possible difficulties?

Edited 24/09/19
peartree September 20, 2019 00:54

1) What can we do to improve the recruitment process to reflect difficulties and experiences and explain traumatised children? (Infuriated that very little has changed in the 18yrs we have crossed the adoption threshold)

2) Can the excellent book by Helen Oakwater for new to adoption people be considered a mandatory text?

3) I think that there needs to be a step change in views around contact and social media. There needs to be a vast improvement in the safeguarding of adoptees from their birth families in many cases and how to support open honest contact on the other hand. This doesn’t end at 18 when our local LA washes their hands of you. Letterbox is antiquated and we need much better thought through approaches on this.

4) CPV and managing it?

Edited 24/09/19
Donatella September 20, 2019 07:12

Think we also need a fair bit more engagement on this topic! Where are all the prospective adopters!?

Safia September 20, 2019 08:36

1) How do panels make their decisions?

2) Do the members focus on different aspects and how do they reconcile these?

3) Do they discuss the case before meeting the people to identify what they need to know and who will ask what?

4) What is their prime objective?

Edited 24/09/19
Scott C-R September 24, 2019 20:00

Good evening and welcome to Adoption UK's very first Live Q&A.

As you know the theme for this evening is Panels, your opportunity to ask the questions that you need to know for your journey through the assessment stages, and of course matching, but also to those established families who are also intrigued and have questions.

I want to thank Caroline for agreeing to do this first one. Caroline is an adoptive parent, but also a Panel Chair for an adoption agency.

Also a big thank you to all of the questions that have been received so far.

So, lets get stuck in. Caroline will reply to each users questions separately, and you will be able to read the questions and then the answers in the same reply. We hope in time that this will be easier to follow - however, bear with us for this first one.

There may be a delay to any live questions asked, as Caroline types, again, bear with us.

So, I am going to pass over to Caroline now, and will be here to help in anyway I can - you can privately message me with any problems using the forums.

Finally, just a reminder, that we want to do more of these, and would like to be able to develop the way these are done. To enable that we do depend on our membership to support this. If you have considered being a member, but not gotten round to it, then please take a look at our amazing membership offer at www.adoptionuk.org/membership

Over to Caroline.

Scott

Q&A Host September 24, 2019 20:02

Hi.

Thank you Scott and Adoption UK for inviting me to answer questions this evening. I'll do my best to answer them.

I think it is important for me to state that I am independent from the agency I Chair for, so any opinions are share are my own views and are not intended to represent the views of any agency. It is also worth bearing in mind, that different panels will have their own approaches and different Chairs will organise their panel meetings differently within the regulations.

Q&A Host September 24, 2019 20:04

So here we go...

Scott asked: Is there a genuine need to ask any questions when prospective parents come to Panel, when they have been answered in the reports? Often it can appear to be just asking a question for asking a questions sake.

Thank you for your question Scott. I don’t think I could be as confident that I had made an informed recommendation without asking some questions. Which I realise sits in conflict with the fact that prospective parents are not obliged to attend. In my experience questions about knowledge of adoption, and adoption related issues, are not always adequately answered in the Prospective Adopters Report (PAR) due to pressure to avoid lengthy reports. I find that I know a lot about the applicants homes, their life history and the number of sessions of childcare they have done, but not always how they have reflected on the impact of trauma or the insights they have gained from conversations they have had with other adopters. PAR’s often raise questions that can be easily answered by the prospective parents or their SWs.

I try to ensure that panel members questions are always relevant to the recommendation-making process. Sometimes questions are identified around the table are not asked because the answers would not influence the outcome regarding a recommendation. Of course different panels are likely to have different views on regarding the value they place on questions.

Edited 24/09/19
Scott C-R September 24, 2019 20:09

Thanks for that Caroline. Interesting, and as someone who has sat on panels, I guess that gives me another perspective as to why questions may be relevant!

Scott

Q&A Host September 24, 2019 20:11

Hi Donatella, thanks for your questions.

1) How knowledgeable are panel members about the day up day reality of raising adoptees?

2) Do panel members understand trauma bonds?

3) How much awareness is there amongst panel members of the prevalence of, eg fas/d?

The simple answer to all 3 questions is that it depends on the panel. The panel chair is made up of a variety of individuals with personal and/or professional experience with adoption and in many cases both. So I would say very knowledgeable, but this might not be typical of all panels. I get the feeling your questions imply that you feel that panels members should have this knowledge, and I agree with you.

Edited 24/09/19
Scott C-R September 24, 2019 20:17

I suspect we would all agree with that!!

Just to say, anyone watching, please post your questions! We want to hear from you... and whether you think it is an irrelevant question or not, ask... you'd be surprised how many may think the same!

Scott

Q&A Host September 24, 2019 20:23

Donatella also asked:

How much importance do they place on the need for ongoing support post placement and what is their role in ensuring prospective adopters are aware of any future possible difficulties?

Our panel members would absolutely champion the need for ongoing support, but it is not really the panels remit to do anything other than make a recommendation.

The agency is responsible for providing future support and ensuring the adopters are aware of future difficulties.

A lack of awareness of these issues, however, may be something that panel members are concerned about and could contribute to the outcome of the recommendation.

I always try to remember to ask the prospective adopters if they have a question for us as a panel. This can be an opportunity to share insights from our own experiences and offer advice but this is not part of the role of the panel.

Edited 24/09/19
Scott C-R September 24, 2019 20:30

Just on that then Caroline, can I ask an addition question?

Do you see panel as an interactive two way thing? It can be quite intimidating to ask questions of a Panel, as you do feel like you are there to "become validated" so I am just wondering if the way Panels/training is approached should be different to create a more equal balance.

Reminder, anyone watching, please post your questions! We want to hear from you... and whether you think it is an irrelevant question or not, ask... you'd be surprised how many may think the same!

Scott

Edited 24/09/19
Q&A Host September 24, 2019 20:39

I can't speak for other Chair's but yes, Scott, I think it can be interactive where appropriate. Our goal is to make an informed recommendation and so I want those attending to feel comfortable and able to share their motivation, knowledge and plans for the future so we can do that. I can remember sitting dry mouthed and terrified at panel as a prospective adopter so I would prefer not to inflict that on someone else. That said prospective parents rarely actually ask a question...

Q&A Host September 24, 2019 20:41

What can we do to improve the recruitment process to reflect difficulties and experiences and explain traumatised children?

Thanks for your question PearTree. I think that the prospective parents that I see are aware and much better informed than adopters in the past, but I’m sure more can be done. This isn’t something that panels can change, other than feeding back to the agency if we feel that prospective parents are not adequately prepared. My personal view is that prospective adopters should be encouraged to spend more time talking to adopters and hearing an honest day to day account of their experiences – positive, neutral and negative. A one off “meet the adopter” session put on by the LA is not enough because the headlines can be misleading. Building up a relationship with another adopter who can share with you the little and big things that are different about parenting a child with a background of loss and trauma, brings the theory you have read about to life.

Q&A Host September 24, 2019 20:45

PearTree also asked:

Can the excellent book by Helen Oakwater for new to adoption people be considered a mandatory text?

Interesting idea PearTree. Not something I can answer I’m afraid as the panel are only involved once the assessment is complete.

Some great questions for a future forum Q and A about contact, social media and CPV here too.

Of course panel members should also be knowledgeable on issues like this,but it is for the agencies to train and support adopters in this area.

Q&A Host September 24, 2019 20:48

How do panels make their decisions?

Hi Safia, thanks for your questions. Panels are made up of people with a range of relevant knowledge and experience, and so they draw on this to weigh up whether to make a positive recommendation.

Panel members are often adopters, or adopted themselves or work in a relevant field. We are looking to see that the applicants are ready to be placed with children with a history of trauma and support those children to gain a coherent sense of identity. We want to see that they can cope and have the resilience needed. We use the content of the PAR to make these decisions and then when we meet the prospective adopters we take into account their responses to our questions which clarify the content.

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