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The Assessment Form (Part 2)

child

We use this box to make important points or to keep you up to date with any recent changes.

Could you adopt Isabella?

Adoption child or children

We are looking for a new family for Isabella. Could you be her new family? Why not find out more?

This part of the form details your attitudes and life experiences that may be relevant to adopting a child. Your agency social worker and you are required to:

1) Provide information on your background.

Your parents, siblings and other significant family members. What is the significance of culture and religion in an individual's upbringing, and what are your views on your own upbringing and the impact that has had on you? What are your attitudes to and experience of disabled people?

Describe your experience of education and work (including unpaid or voluntary work) and your attitude to work and to unemployment. What effect, for example, could unemployment have on family life?

Detail your interests and talents, followed by how you perceive yourself - your personality, racial and cultural identity, strengths and weaknesses.

2) Describe your partnership (if any) and how that partnership works.

What qualities do the partners bring to the relationship, what makes it positive for each of you, how do you support each other, how do you cope with problems? How will a new child affect this relationship - for example, how will you cope with a child who becomes attached readily to one partner and much more slowly to the other?

How are decisions made between the partners, and is there wider family involvement in the decision-making process? What are the strengths and vulnerabilities of the partnership?

Have there been previous significant relationships, and if so what has been learnt from these. Do they affect the present partnership? Are there children from any previous relationships, and if so how will those children be affected by the decision to adopt and by the adopted child themself?

3) Provide information on your support networks.

These are the people who you are in regular contact with and who will support you in bringing up your child. They include family, friends, neighbours and community and religious groups.

4) Give more details of existing children in the household.

Describe their personalities and temperaments, their relationships and any special talents or needs that they might have. How have they been involved in the preparations for an adoptive child, and what is their understanding of the implications of such an adoption for themselves?

5) Describe other adult members of the household.

This includes significant adults who don't live in the home. What is their relationship to the family members, their attitude to the proposed adoption, and how important is that attitude to you?

6) State the reasons why you have decided to adopt a child

If is due to an inability to have birth children, how long have you known that you cannot have a child, are the causes of the childlessness known, and how have you adjusted to that? For couples, how open are you with each other about your feelings in relation to being childless ?

If you don't want a birth family or have decided to adopt before starting a birth family, or have decided to limit the size of your family, how have you arrived at this decision ? Are both partners (where applicable) equally committed to this course of action?

7) Describe the family's lifestyle.

What activities do the family undertake together? Are there any religious or cultural practices that are important ? How is affection shown, what roles do different individuals take, what expectations are there and how are these accommodated within the family unit? What personal space do individuals expect within the family? What is the family attitude to food, and to potential eating difficulties that an adopted child might bring with them?

8) Examine your attitudes to Britain as a multicultural and multiracial society

How is your understanding of it reflected in your present lifestyle? How can children be educated to take a positive view of such a society? What impact can discrimination have on a child, and what understanding do children already in the household have of discrimination?

9) Outline your parenting abilities.

This section begins by asking wither or not, in the case of a couple seeking to adopt a child, a 'joint application' will be made.

You are then asked for a description of your experience of caring for or working with children. What is your understanding of child development, and of how an adopted child might be affected by early experiences? What are your own childhood experiences? In what way would you do things differently to your parents, how flexible would you be in your approach to parenting, and what sort of parent do you think you are (or could be) ? How will you ensure the protection of your children from physical or sexual abuse?

You are then asked about behaviour management. What are the rules of the house, how are approval and disapproval shown, and what effect could these methods have on an abused or neglected child?

Finally, how would you cope with a child from a different culture or ethnic background, or with a different religion or language? What changes would be necessary in your lifestyle, what difficulties could the child, the existing family and the wider support network face, and what practical experiences do you have that might help you to resolve these?

10) Outline financial and other support that you might need.

What are your attitudes towards money; will you give up paid employment (where applicable); and if so, how will you cope with the loss of income? Who will undertake childcare ? What financial and other support will you need during the introduction and post-placement periods?

11) Outline various placement and post-placement considerations.

a) Do you feel that heredity has an impact on a child's development, and how would you relate to a child where little was known about the birth parents? What information would you be happy to share with your adopted child about his/her origins?

b) What understanding do you have of the effects of loss and poor attachment upon a child?

What is your understanding of behavioural difficulties, and what behavioural difficulties would you find it difficult to cope with - for example, bed-wetting, over-affection, or aggression?

What effect is adoption likely to have on a child's identity? Is the child likely to keep his or her first name? Do you understand that some black or ethnic minority children might grow up with a negative self-image if adopted by parents of a different race and culture?

Could you care for a child who has been sexually abused, and would you have difficulties in coping with sexualised behaviour resulting from such abuse? How would other children in the family react to such behaviour?

How do you view emerging sexuality in adolescence, and how would you ensure an appropriate sexual education? How do you view adolescent experimentation - for example, with drink and drugs - and what areas of possible difficulty can you foresee both for yourself and for the adopted child?

Where applicable, depending on the type of child it is suitable for you to adopt, what understanding do you have of possible issues surrounding the health of a child placed with you, and what is your likely ability to cope with those issues - for example, how would you cope with a child with a life-threatening disease?

If you feel able to meet the needs of a physically impaired child, or a child with learning difficulties, what local resources are available to you, and what help are you likely to require (for example, adaptations to your accommodation)? What understanding do you have of the emotional and sexual needs of such a young person ? Do you have expectations that your child will achieve independent living, and if not, have you explored and understood the issues surrounding the care of such a child?

What is your understanding of possible reasons why children become 'looked after' (taken into care) - for example, parental poverty/physical immaturity/drug abuse/depression etc.? How far do you acknowledge the importance to a child of being able to understand their past and of maintaining positive links with that past, and will you be able to facilitate such links - for example, by helping the child to exchange letters and photographs , or to meet, with their birth family or significant others?

12) Describe post-adoption support

What support does the agency offer, and do you know how to access that support or any other resources? What consideration has been given to 'disruption' (the adoption breaking down) and the effect on those concerned, and what are the implications should your relationship (where applicable) break down? How would the child be parented in such a case?

more follows on next page........

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