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How do I know if I can apply to the IRM?
If you have received a letter from your adoption agency called a qualifying determination (QD) and you disagree with this letter, feeling you are suitable to adopt then you can apply to the IRM so long as it is within 40 working days of the QD letter.
What is a Qualifying Determination Letter (QD)?
This is a letter which advises you that your adoption agency does not consider you suitable to adopt a child. A QD can be sent after you have been assessed to be an adopter at stage two (either a brief or a full assessment) or if you are a current adopter whom your adoption agency feels is no longer suitable to adopt. A qualifying determination will be issued after either an assessment report or a review report has been prepared, possibly considered by an adoption panel and then considered by the agency decision maker. If you are unsure if the letter you have received is a QD you can contact the IRM to confirm.
I am at stage one of an adoption assessment but have been told I am not suitable to adopt can I come to the IRM?
No, the IRM can only accept applications from people that are at stage two of the assessment process.
How do I apply to the IRM?
You can send a letter or email to the IRM asking for an independent review so long as this is within 40 working days of your QD letter. You would need to include your name(s), address, contact details, the name of your adoption provider, date of your QD letter and finally why you disagree with the QD letter you have received.
I have been told I am not suitable to adopt after a brief assessment report (short report) has been completed, can the IRM help?
After a brief assessment or short report has been completed this should be taken to the adoption panel for a recommendation. Following that, the Agency decision maker will issue a recommendation. If that recommendation is that your assessment should not continue, you are then able to apply to the IRM at this point. The IRM panel will be able to recommend that your assessment should be completed and presented back to the panel or that you are not suitable to adopt.
My adoption agency will not allow me to adopt a specific child, can the IRM help?
No, the IRM are unable to offer reviews involving matching issues.
Do I get informed of the outcome of the IRM panel on the day?
No, you are sent the recommendation of the IRM panel along with the reasons and minutes of the panel within 12 working days following the IRM panel. Your adoption agency is also sent these minutes and recommendation at the same time.
What happens if my adoption agency does not agree with the IRM recommendation?
Unfortunately the IRM are unable to provide any further assistance. If you are still unhappy with the adoption provider’s decision you need to seek legal advice.
Can I still adopt if the IRM recommends that I am suitable to adopt but my adoption agency does not agree?
You are able to approach another adoption agency to request an assessment to adopt, however it is the decision of that adoption agency as to whether they will assess you. You will have to provide them with details of your situation and they will contact your previous adoption agency.
I wish to complain about how my adoption agency has treated me, what shall I do?
If you wish to complain about the treatment you have received from your adoption agency you would need to follow the complaints process of your adoption service. The IRM considers an applicant’s suitability to adopt and does not deal with complaints about an adoption agency. You are able to apply to the IRM for a review of your suitability to adopt and complain to your adoption agency about how you have been treated simultaneously.
The Regulations and Guidance
- The Adoption Agencies and Independent Review of Determination Reg 2011
- The Independent Review of Determination (Adoption and Fostering) Reg 2009
- The Adoption Agencies Regulations 2005
- Statutory Guidance on Adoption July 2013
- Adoption: National Minimum Standards (2011)
- Adoption and Children Act 2002