Team for the Child Meeting -

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Once an adopter has been identified and this has been agreed by the Voluntary Adoption Agency, the Regional Collaborative and the Local Authority with responsibility for the child, a Team for the Child meeting will be arranged. The Team for the Child meeting forms a vital and intrinsic part of the Adopting Together model of transition and support.

More information about the Team for the Child meeting can be found below.

Who attends?

Core members include; • Prospective adopters • Foster carers • Clinical psychologist • VAA senior social worker (project manager) • Child care social worker • Assessing social worker • Regional adoption social worker. Additional members (agreed invitation) include; • Teacher/nursery nurse • Health visitor • Support worker • Previous foster carer / foster carers of siblings if separated. Consultation will take place with the child’s social worker to identify the Team for the Child meeting attendees.

The purpose

The purpose of the Team for the Child meeting is to bring together all of the information known about a child by those who know the child best to develop an ongoing understanding of the child and the parenting and support that will be needed through transition and beyond. Discussions in the meeting will include the following: 1. What is the child’s experience from their early history? 2. How do these early experiences affect relationship-building (attachment) and the ways they manage in relationships? 3. What vulnerabilities and behaviours does the child present? 4. What does this mean in terms of parenting and seeking further support? The Team for the Child meeting will take place in addition to any adoption planning meeting to ensure that there remains a focus on the child, their lived experiences, behaviours, attachment style and the implications of these in parenting. The meeting is facilitated by a clinical psychologist as an experienced and skilled practitioner who will return discussion to this primary focus. It is co-facilitated and noted by the project manager.

Pre-meeting preparation

It is expected that, prior to the meeting, background work will have been taking place with the child and those who attend the meeting will have relevant perspectives to share regarding the child. The clinical psychologist and project manager will meet with both the prospective adopters and the foster carers prior to the meeting. It is also expected that the prospective adopters and foster carers will have met. This is to help all who attend to feel emotionally supported to contribute and to ensure mutual understanding about the meeting’s purpose. Those in attendance should understand that, at the end of the meeting, the information shared will be used to formulate a report (Formulation) that will be shared with the placing local authority. Those who aren’t invited to attend the meeting, but may have relevant information to contribute, will be asked to submit a short report detailing their knowledge of the child. This will be shared with the clinical psychologist and the co-facilitator from the VAA.

Meeting

This meeting will take place prior to placement and before the start of introductions. At this stage the prospective adopters will not have met the child, so parts of the discussion will remain theoretical. However, themes will be highlighted to raise awareness with the prospective adopter and begin to develop a full understanding of the child. To provide a sense of the child, it can be helpful for photographs of them to be placed around the room. The chair of the meeting will allocate a time slot for each person to share their information about the child with the prospective adopter. The meeting will last approximately 3 hours but could be longer for large sibling groups. It is asked that people attend the whole meeting to ensure that there is a full and complete discussion by all who know the child. At the end of the meeting the chair will provide a summary of its themes. This will form the framework of the report that will be shared with the adopters. This will be shared within seven days of the meeting taking place.

Post Meeting

A report will be written outlining the key issues and approaches most likely to be helpful. The report formulation can be used to inform both the transition and the Adoption Support Plan. It will act as a predictor of emerging issues and provide a framework to help select appropriate interventions. It should be noted here that, at any stage, the prospective adopters could change their minds about proceeding with the child or children. This can happen after this meeting has taken place. Everyone who attends the meeting be asked to sign a confidentiality form.

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