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What happens after the panel ?(6 Posts)
Basically we wasted a whole year not getting very far with our local authority. Now we are with a new agency and they are brill and we have a panel date in September! We have put so much into getting this far and need to know what is the process after the panel?? Just wondered what peoples experiences have been and the sort of time scales. Thank you x
We waited almost 6 months after panel before hearing about DD, then she was home two and a half months later. Hers was the only profile we saw, but we did find out that we had been considered for another match prior to this.
It was really just sit and wait for us.
Should add, we were with a LA, we would have been much more proactive with an agency.
After panel you should meet with your SW (we're with an agency and would have kept the same one but I know some LAs have a new SW for family finding) to kind of 'debrief' post-panel, to discuss any more matching considerations (eg. any recommendations that panel made or any changes in your thoughts) and possibly to look at profiles depending on how things are moving. In terms of timescales, we expected a very long wait, but we actually ended up getting linked about 6 weeks after approval panel and going to matching panel at the beginning of July. But I think this is extraordinarily quick (it certainly feels it!) and a wait of many, many months during the matching period is not unusual. Good luck, and glad to hear you're making progress!
Also, in case it helps - our experience was quite different to everyone else we'd asked. Lots of people we knew had their DC presented to them by a SW who often had them in mind possibly even before panel. I think this is more common with LAs where they already had children known to them. So when I asked people about matching, they were like 'we knew it was them'. We were with an agency (who don't have specific children in their care, unlike LAs) and actually joined LinkMaker before we even had a post-panel meeting with SW. We really struggled with seeing photos and responding to enquiries - it was really emotional trying to figure out how on earth to make a decision and it was totally unexpected because I'd expected to 'just know' and I didn't!
Anyway, the point is that you might want to think and discuss in advance whether you want to be involved in family finding or whether you want your SW to do it for you. I'm so glad we joined LM but it was a big shock and more emotionally draining than I thought it would be.
I recommend you ask your SW how frequently they are going to contact you. This gives you an 'in' for contacting them, stops you going crazy.
e.g. If you haven't heard anything for 4 weeks you can drop an email asking if there is any progress.
We also used holidays as an excuse for getting in contact 'We are thinking of booking a holiday next month, that won't cause any problems will it?'
We had a deal with our SW that she wouldn't tell us of potential links unless/until the SW wanted to meet us and she thought it would work 'we had a child but it transpired she had major learning difficulties so I said no as you had said mainstream school'.
We had 2 occasions where SWs visited us and another couple and the others were chosen. After that our SW said no more unless we were the only ones as it was too heart-breaking.
We went to an exchange event and found some children, but a birth family member came forward.
It took us 15 months after panel for our girls to come into our lives. But we had 4 'near misses' before them, so about 1 every 3-4 months. We could have had a link immediately but turned it down.
Holidays, meals out, all those jobs in the house you've been meaning to get around to.
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