Why am I here?
A "qualifying determination" is a determination made by an adoption agency that it considers a prospective or existing adopter is not suitable to adopt a child. 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. This qualifying decision is received in the form of a letter.
If you are a prospective or an existing adopter who has recently received a qualifying determination which you don’t agree with, you have three options:
- You can apply to the IRM for a review of adoption agency’s qualifying determination, within 40 working days of the date of your letter.
- You can make written representations to your adoption agency.
- You can accept the QD. In which case it takes effect 40 working days after the date on the letter.
You can only exercise one option.
The cost of having your case reviewed is met by your provider.
What the IRM can do for you
The IRM is a review process conducted by a Review Panel which is independent of your Adoption agency.
If you choose to use the IRM the review panel will, where appropriate:
- review your suitability as a prospective adopter(s) to adopt a child.
- review any proposed changes to your terms of approval.
- make a recommendation to your agency on your suitability to adopt a child.
The IRM will not:
- make a final decision about your case, this is done by your adoption agency, after they have received the recommendation of the IRM Panel
- does not consider whether adoption should be the plan for a child.
- does not consider whether a child should be placed with a particular prospective adopter.
- will not process complaints against the adoption agency. Complaints should be dealt with through the adoption agencies complaints procedure.
How the Review Panel works
The Review Panel considers the following information to make its recommendation:
- your grounds(reasons) for requesting a review and any relevant information you provide to evidence your suitability to adopt.
- all information presented to the original Adoption Panel,
- any other relevant information requested from the adoption panel or yourself by the IRM.
- If the Review Panel needs further information, this will be requested from your adoption agency or yourself before the Review Meeting.
- On the day of the Review Panel both you and the adoption agency will attend and both parties will be asked questions to clarify aspects of the case. Although you will have a separate waiting room both parties will be heard together. The only exception will be if the Panel seeks clarification from the adoption agency about 3rd party confidential information you are not entitled to see.
- The IRM will prepare a set of Panel papers which will be sent to you and the adoption agency two weeks before the Panel date.
The panel will also receive independent legal advice and if required medical advice from its own advisors.
Results and outcomes
The IRM Panel will reach a recommendation on the day and a copy of the panel’s recommendation reasons and a full set of minutes will be sent to you and the adoption agency 12 working days after the Review.
The adoption agency must take the review panel’s recommendation into account as well as the recommendation of the adoption panel when making its final decision on your suitability to adopt a child.