Timescales are changing are most agencies are starting from 1st July to do it the new way!
From sending their expression of interest form in and being accepted (decision has to be made within a week) the 1st stage starts which lasts 2 months. During this stage they will have their police and medical checks, references will be visited and all other checks completed. There is also the initial training.
Once completed and everything is fine you move onto stage 2. Within 4 months you have to have the full training, assessment completed and have had panel and the decision back.
The assessment that is presented to panel is much shorter now (20 pages rather than 70+) although the sessions with the sw will still need to cover the same things.
Up till now, basically exactly what Devora said, but because of the adoption changes, some LA's (or maybe a lot of them) are now changing the structure and timescales quite considerably from what it has been for Devora, me and everyone else here.
I've very recently been invited back to speak to prospective parents at my home LA, and they are one who are bringing in changes. The changes for them and many LA's involve the prospective parents being sent every single form (there is a lot of paperwork - family trees, medical and referee forms, support network maps and a personal narrative etc etc) at the beginning, preparing the paperwork then attending prep and home study visits over say 3 months. The process including panel to be wrapped up in 4/5/6 months absolute max.
So depending on her LA/VA it may be quite a quick process for your friend once she/he has attended the information evening, had an initial visit and been accepted to be assessed. On the other hand her LA/VA might not have alterred their process. Depending on this she can expect a process lasting as little as say 4 months up to a year long, but hopefully shouldn't be any longer than that.
Whatever the timescale and structure, they will be asking all the things that Devora mentionned, and yes they will want to talk to any existing children who are old enough if they are willing. Children who will be living in the same house as the new child will have to be talked to.
When I went through the process a second time my DD1 (aged 16/17) was asked things like - how did I discipline, how did she feel about a new sibling, did she have any worries, what were her expectations, what did she think/feel about being adopted, how did we talk about adoption together, they asked her and me about her health and mental health/behaviour etc.
A younger BC might be asked things like - Again, how do they feel about an adopted sibling, do they know what adoption is/how much to they know about it, what do they think it will be like, do they have any worries or are they especially excited about anything, do they think things will be very different at home once new sibling arrives, how do parents discipline them
Big question! OK, at the beginning they first want to establish why you want to adopt, what other children you may have and how old they are, what you expect from adoption, whether you have the room (in all senses) for another child in your life, your relationship status, whether you smoke, whether you can take time off work to settle in a child etc.
At some point they will probably invite you to an information day. This is not to assess you, but to ensure you have a clear understanding of what adoption entails.
If they like the cut of your jib, and - most critically - if you fit the profile of the kind of parents they need for the children they have coming up, they will then invite you to be assessed with them. This usually starts with a 5 day prep course where you learn a lot more about adoption. This is part of the assessment - they will be watching what you ask and say.
Following that, if they decide to take it further you have home study, which should be completed within 8 months. A social worker will visit you in your home several times for in-depth discussions. They will want to explore your parenting style (if you have one), whether you have sufficient social support, how your own childhood has affected you, the quality of your relationship is you're in one, what you expect from adoption and how resilient you are in coping with challenges. If you have birth children, they will be assessed too to ensure adoption is in their best interests. They may talk to ex-partners. They will always require references from a few of your friends or family - they will interview these people. You will need to have a medical and provide evidence that you are financially secure (not wealthy, but not in crisis).
If all goes well, you then go to a panel to be approved to adopt a particular category of child or children. (e.g. child aged 0-2, sibling group aged between 2-6).
Once you are approved as an adopter, your social worker looks for a child on your behalf - and you can look yourself too. The child has their own social worker and, if they like the sound of you, that social worker will visit you at home to interview you and judge whether you will be a good match. the match then gets approved at Matching Panel. After that you will start introducctions and meet the child, and then the child comes to live with you. Social workers continue to visit for 6-12 months until the final adoption order. After that, you are finally on your own!
Tell your friend she is welcome on here to ask all and any questions at any time
Can anyone give me any advice on what to expect during the various stages? What sort of questions do they ask, what sort of evaluations? Do they talk to existing children? I'm asking on behalf of my friend who is just starting the process. Many thanks guys!