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Adoption: National Minimum Standards

Accessed from: https://www.education.gov.uk/publications/standard/publicationDetail/Page1/DFE-00028-2011

Published:March 2011
Publication Type: Guidance
Audience: Lead Member for Children’s Services, Local authorities and key statutory agencies, Social workers

This document contains the National Minimum Standards (NMS) applicable to the provision of adoption services. The NMS together with the adoption regulations form the basis of the regulatory framework under the Care Standards Act 2000 for the conduct of adoption agencies and adoption support agencies.

The NMS for adoption are issued by the Secretary of State under sections 23 and 49 of the Care Standards Act 2000. The Secretary of State will keep the standards under review and may publish amended standards as appropriate.

Minimum standards do not mean standardisation of provision. The standards are designed to be applicable to the variety of different types of adoption agencies and adoption support agencies. They aim to enable, rather than prevent, individual agencies to develop their own particular ethos and approach based on evidence that this is the most appropriate way to meet the child’s needs.

* General introduction
* Standards


Adoption Agencies
Adoption Support Agencies

STANDARD 15 – Adoption support


The Adoption Support Services Regulations 2005

The Local Authority Adoption Service (England) Regulations 2003
Regulation 9A – Provision of services

The Voluntary Adoption Agencies and the Adoption Agencies (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2003
Regulation 24F – Provision of services

The Adoption Support Agencies (England) and Adoption Agencies (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2005
Regulation 13 – Provision of services

Adoption and Children Act 2002 Guidance – Chapter 9
Practice Guidance on Assessing the Support Needs of Adoptive Families


• Children and adults affected by adoption receive an assessment of their adoption support needs.

• Service users confirm that the adoption support service provided met or are meeting their assessed needs.


15.1 Where services are commissioned by an adoption agency, a three-way working relationship is developed with the adoption agency and the Adoption support agency working in partnership to most effectively meet the needs of the service user. Commissioning arrangements are underpinned by a written agreement and are reviewed at regular intervals.

15.2 When deciding whether to provide a service, or which service to provide, the agency has regard to the assessed needs for adoption support services, listens to the service user’s wishes and feelings, and considers their welfare and safety.

15.3 The service user knows, and receives written information about, the service they are to receive; what the service is designed to achieve; what is involved in the particular service provision and how the service will be monitored to ensure that it is delivering the intended outcome.


15.4 Prospective adopters and adopters are made aware of, and encouraged by, the Adoption Support Services Adviser to access support services, and apply for tax credits and welfare benefits which are available to them and advise them of their employment rights to leave and pay.

15.5 The Adoption Support Services Adviser assists prospective adopters and adopters through liaison with education and health services; across local authority boundaries and between departments within the local authority.

15.6 Adoption agencies seek feedback from service users on the success of the service provision. This feedback is recorded centrally and on the case record of the service user.


Adoption Agencies
Adoption Support Agencies

STANDARD 16 – Intermediary services


The Adoption and Children Act 2002 – sections 9 and 98
Adoption Information and Intermediary Services (Pre-commencement Adoptions) Regulations 2005

Adoption and Children Act 2002 Guidance – Chapters 10
Practice Guidance on Adoption: Access to Information and Intermediary Services


• Adopted adults and birth relatives are assisted to obtain information in relation to the adoption, where appropriate, and contact is facilitated between an adopted adult and their birth relative if that is what both parties want.


16.1 Information is provided about the Adoption Contact Register and how to register a wish for contact or no contact; and about absolute and qualified vetoes and the potential benefits and disadvantages of registering a veto.

16.2 The applicant is met and their identity verified before any information is disclosed to them, contact facilitated; or a veto is registered.

16.3 The Appropriate Adoption Agency and the Intermediary Agency agree a timescale for responding to an enquiry and keeps the Intermediary Agency informed of the progress (or lack of progress) of their enquiry.

16.4 Service users are helped to understand the possible effects on them and their family of the outcome of their search.

16.5 Service users are consulted on decisions made in relation to their service provision. Consultation with service users is recorded on their individual records.

16.6 Agencies seek feedback from service users on the success of the service provision. This feedback is recorded centrally and on the case record of the service user.

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