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Change of Agency

(9 Posts)
FirstTimeAdopters Tue 12-Jul-16 12:38:43

We are extremely frustrated with our agency. Second match that had broken because of continuous delays they have caused (change of staff, broken wires, miscommunication). We have invested months in this and are now back where we started - Devastating, really.
We were hoping we could change agency... Is that an option at all? Having been approved by the current one?

RosieandJim89 Tue 12-Jul-16 13:27:31

I think you would have to go through the process again in you switch. Sorry to hear your frustration. I hope it gets better.

Hels20 Tue 12-Jul-16 18:11:32

I think it might be possible without having to go through Stage 1 again. We switched agencies when we wanted to adopt no. 2 and they used our old agency's PAR and we only had to do Stage 2 - and even that was accelerated.

matimeo Tue 12-Jul-16 18:16:45

To get problems so bad that you loose a match is incredible; it must be unbearable to have it happen twice. My understanding (I know a few people who did this, but this is second hand info) is that you have to be stage one approved again- the whole shebang. I'd have thought a good agency could do it quicker this time, especially if they can get the paperwork from your current agency, but its a very big step.

The only suggestion I would make is to raise a formal complaint and to monitor them like hawks from this point forward. Its your adoption process- own it.

My own agency (Caritas Care) were fab. I think you should name your agency here (you aren't using your real names) so that anyone googling them has a heads up. When you are finally done with these muppets, write to OFSTED and describe your experience.

You are welcome to PM me, at any point, for information about the process if it might be helpful (I've adopted twice, volunteer a bit with the agency). Good luck.

Kr1stina Wed 13-Jul-16 14:24:58

If the OP names the agency, it will be obvious to THEM who she is. So I don't think that's a good idea.

I know it's unlikely that her SW is on Mn but you never know

matimeo Wed 13-Jul-16 18:43:48

@ Kr1stina. You have a point, though I think it very unlikely to be identifiable. It wouldn't worry me at all, but I assumed that if the OP wasn't comfortable, they simply wouldn't do so.

While our VA are amazing, our adopted children's LA are terrible. We didn't make a formal complaint, preferring to try to push them while keeping relationships as positive as possible. If what the OP says is correct, then I think they are unfortunately way past that point and they will have to be very strong.

Italiangreyhound Thu 14-Jul-16 01:56:24

FirstTimeAdopters I am sorry you are having this problem and can imagine it is very stressful indeed.

However, I would be very careful about complaints or publicly naming any agency. I am sure in your frustration it may seem like a good idea but in reality I think it is a very bad idea.

Can I ask, when you say 'Second match that had broken' do you mean that you got to matching panel, were approved and then the match broke down? Or do you mean that a child was mentioned, you expressed interest in the child and then things did not proceed, or they started to proceed and then stopped. And the exact same thing happened for a second time?

If you are not happy revealing this level of detail here, please do not reveal it here.

I only mention it because they are very different things. I am trying to gauge if your frustration is just the normal frustrations with adoption or a totally high level of problems in you agency.

Re "...continuous delays" you mention "...change of staff, broken wires, miscommunication". I think change of staff is quite common in social services and people going off on sick leave seems to be quite common too.

Yes, it is I am sure devastating to be through a process that keeps you waiting and doesn't deal with you in a timely manner, but sadly I think this can be the case with adoption. When you say "We have invested months in this and are now back where we started" Do you mean months pursing these two children, one after the other?

I think if you want to change agency you should explore this quietly, the new agency will have to be in contact with your current agency.

If you have been approved for several months can you look for children from any area in England or Wales? We adopted about two and a quarter years ago and that was the situation when we adopted. So we could look for details of children from any area and then, whether your agency is a country council, local authority or voluntary agency, they will be paid for connecting you to a child (from a different country if country council etc). So it is in their interests to do this.

I just wonder why they are doing such a bad job, is it incompetence or lack of staff (or is it related to the area the children come from or staff from there) or something else. Your choice of the word 'continuous' with 'delays' suggests it might not be just general incompetence.

Anyway, all I will say is that whatever agency you go with they will be in touch with your current agency so I would not burn any bridges, even if you know you are in the right, you need to show you can work with them or that you can move on and work with another agency without being bitter and causing issues. I am sure this 'advice' will not be popular but for the sake of your sanity and your adoption aspirations I would see if you can do this.

This is unless you feel that your are being victimized for some specific reason and you can talk with your agency about your concerns.

Whatever you do I would be very cautious and get their official take on what has happened in your specific case (ideally in writing, by email etc) before talking to other agencies.

I really hope it works out well.

FirstTimeAdopters Thu 14-Jul-16 10:03:26

Thank you all for all this valuable feedback. I agree with the "don't burn any bridges approach" so trying to think of the best way to progress forward. I don't want to share too much online, but in brief: Miscommunication and unreliable information given to us due to repeated change of staff as well as months dragging between match presented and proposed placement timeframe. This combination, in the end, forced us to pull back.

Italiangreyhound Thu 14-Jul-16 10:28:20

FirstTimeAdopters it is good you are taking all these views on board.

Please do not include any information you do not wish to.

And feel free to PM me if you wish.

You said "Miscommunication and unreliable information given to us due to repeated change of staff as well as months dragging between match presented and proposed placement timeframe."

Can I ask roughly how long the delay was?

Our time frame was we were told about a child in late January, we agreed within days to that match. We met child's social worker and then the foster carer. We went to panel in April.We met the child and they came to live with us by early May. Four months. That was, I think, very fast. I have heard of faster. We were lucky, we were not messed around and there were no staff changes.

I guess it also depends how an organisatin deals with changes of staff. if there are rapid and unexpected changes of staff then any organisaion may struggle to cope. But if the changes were known about and planned for, or if the organisation has a working climate that 'makes' peopel want to leave, I can more understand why this would be very frustrating.

However, I would say adoption has a level of uncertainty and frustration kind of build in. Social workers will be looking to see how you cope with all this. Because once a child or children are place there can be other delays and issues, e.g. uncertainty about the child's level of needs, uncertainty around getting the adoption order finalized, uncertainty around how things will go with the child and attachment and of course possibilities that the birth parents may have another child and you may be asked to consider adopting that child. Pretty much all things that won't happen in the same way with a birth child. So, as birth children present uncertainty and challenge (our birth DD has dyslexia and autistic tendencies) so children who join a family by adoption have those 'potential issues' plus additional uncertainties.

Re "This combination, in the end, forced us to pull back" ... This means, does it, that you said no to a match? Please do be very careful how you proceed if you want to complain about things.

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