View the Medway SCB Procedures
View the Medway SCB Procedures
View the Medway SCB ProceduresView the Medway SCB Procedures

7.1 General Policy Statement

Contents

  1. Overview and Values
  2. Values - Children
  3. Values - Adopted Adults and Birth Relatives
  4. A Service for Children
  5. A Service for Families
  6. Representations and Complaints


1. Overview and Values

Medway Council Adoption Agency provides a comprehensive adoption service - as determined by relevant legislation and guidance, and undertakes to be fair, open, and respectful in its dealings with all those who use the service. The service provided is based on the following value commitment as outlined in the Adoption National Minimum Standards 2011:


2. Values - Children

The child's welfare, safety and needs are at the centre of the adoption process.

Adopted children should have an enjoyable childhood, and benefit from excellent parenting and education, enjoying a wide range of opportunities to develop their talents and skills leading to a successful adult life.

Children are entitled to grow up as part of a loving family that can meet their developmental needs during childhood and beyond.

Children's wishes and feelings are important and will be actively sought and fully taken into account at all stages of the adoption process.

Delays should be avoided as they can have a severe impact on the health and development of the children waiting to be adopted.

A sense of identity is important to a child's well-being. To help children develop this, their ethnic origin, cultural background, religion, language and sexuality need to be properly recognised and positively valued and promoted.

The particular needs of disabled children and children with complex needs will be fully recognised and taken into account.

Where a child cannot be cared for in a suitable manner in their own country, intercountry adoption may be considered as an alternative means of providing a permanent family.

Children, birth parents/guardians and families and adoptive parents and families will be valued and respected.

A genuine partnership between all those involved in adoption is essential for the NMS to deliver the best outcomes for children; this includes the Government, local government, other statutory agencies, Voluntary Adoption Agencies and Adoption Support Agencies.


3. Values - Adopted Adults and Birth Relatives

Adoption is an evolving life-long process for all those involved - adopted adults, and birth and adoptive relatives. The fundamental issues raised by adoption may reverberate and resurface at different times and stages throughout an individual's life.

Adopted people should have access to information and services to enable them to address adoption related matters throughout their life.

Agencies have a duty to provide services that considers the welfare of all parties involved and should consider the implications of decisions and actions for everyone involved.

Agencies should seek to work in partnership with all parties involved, taking account of their views and wishes in decision-making.

Agencies should acknowledge differences in people's circumstances and establish policies that provide non-discriminatory services.

Adopted adults have their adoptive identity safeguarded and the right to decide whether to be involved in contact or communication with birth family members.

The Adoption Agency will provide the best possible service and opportunity to the children who need new adoptive homes by acknowledging the diverse and complex nature of our society and by welcoming applications from a wide range of people who wish to adopt.

The Adoption Agency will provide a full counselling and advisory service to all parties involved in adoption, and within the service three main functions are identified:

  • to find adoptive homes for the children who are to be placed for adoption through Medway Children's Services.
  • to recruit, assess, prepare and support people who apply to become adoptive parents through Medway Children's Services.
  • to provide a support service to adoptive families


4. A Service for Children

The welfare needs, wishes and feelings, and safety of the looked after child are paramount and are at the centre of the adoption process; the intention is to achieve the optimum level of security and stability for a child within a loving and caring family environment, wherever this is possible. The decision to place a child for adoption is not taken lightly and adoption will only be considered when:

  1. it is not possible or suitable for a child to remain within their birth family; or,
  2. the child's parents or guardians request adoption

The needs of the child placed, or to be placed for adoption, will be the primary consideration in approving a placement for adoption. Children will be placed with approved adopters who can offer them a stable and permanent home, and help and support will be provided with the aim of achieving a successful and lasting placement.

The majority of the children placed for adoption will have had an unsettled early life, and may have experienced physical, emotional and educational difficulties. Apart from their clearly identified individual needs, all the children placed for adoption will have a need for stability and will have already experienced loss. Therefore every effort will be made to provide the maximum possible security for their childhood and their early adult life.

Children placed for adoption will already feel different from the majority of their peers and careful consideration will be given in assessing prospective adopters to their ability to deal with diversity and help a child develop strategies for coping with any discrimination.

The assessed needs of the child will be the primary consideration of the adoption agency but all persons making enquiries of the agency or receiving the services of the agency can expect to be treated with respect and openness.


5. A Service for Families

Counselling, advice and support will be provided for birth parents and other members of the adopted child's birth family, including where the birth family do not agree with the decision to place the child for adoption.

People who wish to adopt will be assessed in relation to their parenting ability. All people who wish to adopt a child will be required to undertake appropriate training and preparation prior to placement.

All applicants will need to have and to provide evidence of a stable home life and healthy lifestyle, and to be of suitable fitness to provide the care required. Applicants are required by law to undergo a medical examination and to satisfy the Agency, and eventually the adjudicating court of their fitness. Single people and couples, whether heterosexuals who are married or cohabiting or same sex couples who have a registered civil partnership or are cohabiting are all eligible to be assessed as adopters.

These policies state the general principles that govern the actions of the Adoption Agency. Each case will, however, be considered on its own merit, with an understanding that there may be the need for exceptions from the general policy in some circumstances.


6. Representations and Complaints

Medway Council Adoption Agency is committed to providing an open and transparent service to all its service users, and all who use the services of the Adoption Agency will be treated fairly, honestly, and with respect. Any complaints or representations should in the first instance be addressed to: The Team Manager, Medway Adoption and Permanence Team, The Elaine Centre, Clifton Close, Strood, Rochester, Kent, ME2 2HG; telephone 01634 306000. (Further information on the Complaints and Representations Procedure is available here).

Further concerns may be addressed to Ofsted National Business Unit, Royal Exchange Buildings, St Ann's Square, Manchester, M2 7LA; telephone 08456 404040; email enquiries@ofsted.gov.uk or to the Children's Rights Director.

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