Hi, I’m Angie and I started working for Polaris Children’s services in April 2017 as an Independent Support Administrator, moving on to Senior Administrator Assistant.

I started working here at Adopters for Adoption in September 2018 as Senior Administrator and Panel Lead and have really enjoyed being part of the team. Each week for me differs and is never predictable as my role is very varied, but that’s something I enjoy.

Once applicants have completed stage 1 of the process and have signed and returned their completion letter, my role begins. At the time applicants are able to progress to Stage 2 I will have already provided them with an estimated Panel date that we are all working towards. At this point the applicants’ social worker will be sent an information pack that includes everything they need to cover in stage 2 of the assessment, and I continue to work with them throughout stage 2, assisting whenever I can.

Approximately 22 days prior to the Panel date the social worker will be due to submit the applicants Prospective Adopter Report (PAR) to us for Quality Assurance checks to be undertaken by a Team Manager. I will then liaise between the social worker and Team Manager to ensure timescales are met, ready for the PAR to be submitted to the applicants and the Panel members to read through prior to Panel date.

On the lead up to Panel I’ll co-ordinate which Panel members can attend that day, and the timings of each set of applicants and their social workers and ensure that there are waiting rooms available. We hold Panel once or twice a month and can have anything between 1 and 4 sets of applicants, plus reviews for families that have been approved
for a year or more but are yet to have a child placed with them, so the length of Panel days can really vary and sometimes be quite intense.

Panel days have a real buzz about them. There’s a different feeling in the office on these days, our team are just as excited and nervous for the applicants as they are. We try our very best to make sure our prospective adopters feel welcome and calm as they can be.

I am present in the Panel room taking minutes throughout the day, which means I get to meet the applicants on Panel day and get to know them in person. It’s always the best feeling to see the initial reactions of applicants when they are recommended for approval, it makes the whole job worthwhile. The process can be extremely personal and stressful, and seeing that instant relief that it has all paid off and they can move on to family find can be incredibly emotional.

After Panel has ended I type up and file minutes, and then liaise with our Head of Service and Agency Decision Maker and let applicants know in writing what the final outcome is.  It’s great to them hear from our agency Family Finder, April, with the progress the families are making with matching with a child.

Outside of Panel I also work with our Head of Service and Managers with recruitment of Independent Social Workers and managing the office with various other tasks. I am also partly responsible for creating our monthly board reports. There are many other tasks I help with day to day, but as I said, I enjoy the variation.

Working as part of AfA is challenging and exciting, and I really enjoy being part of the team.