Upcoming changes for this guidance
This content will be strengthened so it more completely reflects our commitment to practice framed by te Tiriti o Waitangi, based on a mana-enhancing paradigm for practice, and drawing from Te Ao Māori principles of oranga to support mana tamaiti, whakapapa and whanaungatanga. We each need to consider how we can apply these principles to our practice when reading this guidance. The following resources provide support:
Practice for working effectively with Māori
Our practice shift
When to conduct a review
Adoptive applicants are reviewed every two years while they are:
- waiting in the pool without a placement
- waiting for an inter-country adoption to proceed.
The first review is due two years after the date they were approved.
If you're planning a placement, check whether a review is due and perhaps consider bringing it forward.
If the applicants have combined approvals for a number of care types, the review for all the care types will occur at the same time.
What to review
At least every two years at the time of the review, we must renew a caregiver's documentation.
Applicants don't need to provide a new application form unless there is new information to be recorded.
When planning an interview, note any cause for comment in the applicant's documents and in the previous assessment narrative.
With the six core needs as a base, the discussion will centre on what has remained the same and what has changed in the intervening period, in both:
- practical circumstances, and
- thoughts and feelings about adoptive parenthood.
The interview is an opportunity for applicants who have no placement to talk about the effect of the wait and the uncertainty, and the need to balance hoping and preparing for tamariki with living full lives.
Writing the review report
In the review report, refer to the previous assessment, adjust if required, and focus on:
- material circumstances that may have changed
- the applicants’ further thinking that relates to the core attributes.
In the summary, provide your recommendation on whether the applicants continue to be eligible and suitable to adopt.
Once a placement is made
Once a child is placed, our role is to support the placement. Instead of formal reviews, the social worker will form their own judgement of the family functioning and the well-being of the child.
We don't make formal documentary checks unless there's a good reason, eg ill health, relationship problems or criminal offending.
The applicants have a responsibility to make sure they provide accurate information to the Court.
When to reassess a prospective adoptive parent
Applicants are expected to keep the social worker informed of any significant changes in their lives which would have a bearing on their parenting or application.
A prospective adoptive parent should be reassessed when:
- they want to change or expand their approved care types
- they have a significant change of circumstances, such as health problems, criminal offending, relationship issues or new children born in the family.
When adoptive parents are applying again after an adoption has been concluded, we conduct a new assessment — although we can use some of the detail from their first assessment. Pay attention to discussing the actual experience of adoptive parenthood, keeping in mind that no two placements will be the same. How do the applicants want to proceed in light of their experience?
Support during the waiting period
During the waiting period, when adoptive applicants are in the domestic pool or have a dossier overseas, the social worker should provide support as required, including:
- answering any questions
- facilitating applicant gatherings
- encouraging applicant networking.
Review meetings during this period (other than the two-yearly review) are not appropriate as there is no statutory basis to monitor adoptive applicants.