Let’s take a look at some of the most common questions surrounding the adoption panel to demystify the process and give you the information you need to step into your panel meeting with confidence. 

Many prospective adopters find that the thought of going to panel brings up feelings of nervousness. Those feelings are perfectly normal- after all, it’s not every day that we are expected to answer questions in front of a group of strangers!   There is no need to worry, however. The panel meeting is an exciting step in the adoption process where all of your hard work and dedication over the past few months since applying to adopt is recognised.

Before your Panel Day

Before your panel date you will receive a copy of your Prospective Adopters Report, or PAR. This is a document which contains a recommendation made by your social worker to the panel regarding your suitability to adopt. You will be asked to read and sign your PAR and leave any comments about its contents. The PAR, along with an additional confidential section which contains details of references and background checks, is then sent to the panel for review in the run up to your panel meeting. This means that panel members will have had the opportunity to reflect on your application and to give it full consideration before you attend panel.  

You will receive a letter inviting you to attend the panel. We encourage all of our adopters to attend, but you do not have to do so. You are under no obligation to attend panel and it will not affect the outcome if you do not attend. The panel will still consider your application and may ask questions of your social worker. 

The majority of prospective adopters do choose to attend, as this gives them the opportunity to answer questions that the panel might have and provide clarity in order to enable the panel to make a recommendation. 

If you wish to bring another person along to support you, please let us know beforehand so that we can confirm if it is appropriate for them to attend. Your support person would not be able to answer any questions from panel on your behalf, but they might be able to help you formulate your answers. 

What is the Adoption Panel? 

The adoption approval panel is the final step in your journey to becoming approved as an adoptive parent. It is a meeting where the PAR which your social worker has curated during the months you’ve been getting to know one another will be presented to a panel for review.  

The adoption panel is made up of a range of 5-6 independent panellists whose backgrounds will range from social workers, educational experts, adoptees and others, all with their own expertise. The panel makes the final decision on whether or not to proceed with your application to adopt with Adopters for Adoption. An adoption panel meeting usually takes up to one hour, but may take longer. 


What to Expect on Your Panel Day: A Step by Step Guide

  • Step 1: Before you and your social worker join the meeting, the member of the panel will begin the meeting. The chair of the panel meeting will outline your case to the rest of the panel members and will ensure that everything is in place so that the meeting can go ahead. 
  • Step 2: The panel will discuss the PAR report provided by your social worker and will decide on any questions which they feel are appropriate. They may decide to speak with your social worker for a short period of time before inviting you into the meeting.  
  • Step 3: The panel members will invite you and your social worker to join them. They will welcome you and ask what the process of applying for adoption has been like for you to ensure that you have had a good experience. The panel will then ask you and your social worker their agreed upon questions. Remember that your social worker will be with there to help you if you need assistance with answering any questions asked at the adoption panel. 
  • Step 4: The panel will offer you the opportunity to ask any questions of your own. You will then be asked to wait outside while the adoption panel makes their decision and discusses the reasons why with your social worker.  
  • Step 5: If your application is successful, you will be invited back into the room to discuss this and finalise your approval to adopt with a signed version of your Prospective Adopters Report.  

The panel also reviews the ‘suitability’ status of approved adopters on an annual basis, if the adopters have not yet been matched with a child. The panel has an additional function, which is to quality assure adoption assessments. 

What if my Application is Rejected or Deferred? 

Try not to worry too much over the outcome of your panel meeting. For you to have progressed to the panel stage, your social worker and support network at Adopters for Adoption will have thoroughly assessed your suitability.  

However, the panel may decide to defer your panel meeting so that further work can be done by your social worker, or may decide that this is not the right time to proceed with your application. 

We understand that it can be incredibly painful when a panel meeting does not go as planned. Our team here at Adopters for Adoption will do all we can to support you through this difficult process and to help you with your next steps.  

Single woman making an enquiry to adopt on laptop

My Panel Day was a Success. What Happens Next? 

  • Approval of the Agency Decision Maker. Once your application has been approved by the adoption panel members, their decision will be presented to our Agency Decision Maker here at Adopters for Adoption. They will review the decision and have the final say in whether an application is approved. 
  • Family Finding. Once you are approved, our family finding team will work with you and your social worker to find children who could be the perfect match to join your family. Once a child is identified and their social worker has agreed that you could be a potential fit, you will move onto the next stage.  
  • The Adoption Matching Panel. The matching panel is a second panel much like the first, where the information provided by both your social worker and the child’s social worker will be reviewed and you will be asked questions. Once the matching panel have given their approval, their recommendations will once again be presented to the Agency Decision Maker. With their approval, you are ready to begin the process of welcoming your new child home! 

Additional support before you go to panel 

Remember that if you have any queries or concerns before you go to panel, your social worker is on hand to help you. You can also get in touch with us calling 0800 5877 791. Our friendly team will do all they can to answer your questions and help alleviate any worries around your adoption panel meeting.  

Are you interested in changing a young person’s life by adopting a child? Contact Adopters for Adoption today.