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STANDARD 12 - Birth parents and birth families involved in the adoption plan

(Adoption Agencies, Adoption Support Agencies)


  • Children have clear and appropriate information about themselves, their birth parents and families and life before their adoption.
  • Birth parents and birth families take an active part in the planning and implementation of their child’s adoption.


Birth parents and birth families are treated fairly, without prejudice, openly and with respect. They are kept informed, on a regular basis, of the progress (or lack of progress) of their child’s adoption. They are given regular opportunities to raise any specific concerns or questions, which are then answered as directly and fully as possible.


A pregnant woman and the unborn baby’s father, who are considering relinquishing their unborn baby for adoption, receive pre-birth counselling and from that understand the permanence options for their baby’s future; how an adoption order would affect their unborn baby, themselves and their family, and are able to make an informed decision about the future of their unborn child.


Birth parents are given access to, and are actively encouraged to use, a support worker from the time adoption is identified as the plan for the child. The support worker is independent of the child’s social worker.


Birth parents are given information on how to obtain legal advice, contact details of local and national support groups and services, and support to fulfil agreed plans for contact.


The wishes and feelings of the birth parents, siblings and other members of the birth family, and other people the agency considers relevant, are listened to and are valued and respected. They are taken into account when making decisions. Where they are not acted upon, the reasons for not doing so are explained to the individual so that they understand why their views are not reflected in their child’s care. The wishes and feelings and, if applicable, the reasons why they are not being acted upon, are recorded on the child’s case record and included in the Child’s Permanence Report.


Birth parents are helped to work through their concerns through the counselling they receive and understand what is proposed for their child and how the child will benefit if they take an active part in their child’s adoption.


Birth parents are given the opportunity to comment on what is written about them or their circumstances before the information is passed to the adoption panel or to the child’s proposed adoptive parents.


The adoption agency is active in its efforts to involve the birth parents and birth family in the adoption plan.


The adoption agency ensures the prospective adopters understand the importance for the birth family to be told if their child dies during childhood or soon afterwards and agrees to notify the adoption agency. The prospective adopters’ decision and any subsequent action are recorded on their case record.