Part 6 - Permanence - Introduction
This section looks at the practice steps involved in identifying and assessing the need for secure, sustainable care, and forming and progressing plans to achieve such care arrangements. It includes the transfer of parental responsibility and, as appropriate, the planning and provision of post-adoption support.
Legislation and regulations give very detailed consideration to balancing the needs and rights of children with the rights and responsibilities of parents and other parties. This is because of the lifelong significance of decisions to permanently separate children from their parents and to transfer parental responsibilities from parents to others.
This necessitates a high level of legal and administrative rigour, all of which takes time, and for good reason. Legal challenge forms a significant part of the process through which the validity of decisions affecting children’s and parents’ rights is tested. But unnecessary delay can be seriously detrimental to children, especially very young children.
Practice needs, therefore, to be very focused, based on thorough engagement with child and parents and analysis of the evidence, in order to ensure that decisions are made in the right way, for the right reasons. Decisions, actions, reasons and evidence must be recorded clearly and succinctly. Practitioners need a good general understanding of the legal criteria that may apply to different circumstances, but must seek legal advice where appropriate.