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8.7 Family Finding and Matching, including Life Appreciation Day

This chapter was added to the manual in February 2022.


  1. Policy, Purpose and Scope
  2. Procedure - Family Finding on Island
  3. Procedure - Family Finding off Island
  4. Linking Meeting
  5. Matching Meeting
  6. Life Appreciation Day
  7. Adoption Matching Panel

    Appendix 1: Family Finding Referral

    Appendix 2: Process Map

    Appendix 3: Family Finding Pro-Forma

    Appendix 4: Child’s Adoption Profile

    Appendix 5: Matching Report

1. Policy and Purpose

Manx Care will ensure that there is a fair and robust process when linking and matching the life-long needs of a child(ren), which will be balanced against the skills, knowledge and experience of the prospective adopters, whilst providing full information about the child.

Family finding and matching will be carried out in accordance with the requirements of:

This policy and these requirements apply to all prospective and approved adoptive parents.

2. Procedure - Family Finding on Island

Once adoption has been agreed at Legal and Permanence Decision Making Panel, the child’s Social Worker needs to complete a referral for Family Finding (Appendix 1: Family Finding Referral) and send this to the Adoption Practice Lead, within 5 working days of the Panel decision.

The Adoption Practice Lead will allocate the Family Finding role to a Supervising Social Worker within 2 working days. Please see Appendix 2: Process Map.

The child’s Social Worker will be invited to a Family Finding Referral Meeting within 10 working days to share and gain any information that would assist in the Family Finding process. In addition, timescales will need to be agreed in terms of the completion of the Child Permanence Report (CPR) and the date on which the CPR will be presented to Adoption Panel for the Best Interest Decision (BID), whilst taking into consideration legal proceedings.

The Family Finder will complete the family finding pro-forma (Appendix 3: Family Finding Pro-Forma) and will complete the child’s profile (Appendix 4: Child’s Adoption Profile) within 10 working days from the meeting. Both will need to be authorised by the Adoption Practice Lead within 2 working days from receipt.

In-house prospective adopter(s) profile(s) will be shared with the child’s Social Worker and the team manager for consideration. Family Finding may go on hold, if the child’s if the child’s care plan is not solely one of adoption. If this is the case, the Adoption Practice Lead will obtain updates from the child’s Social Worker on a monthly basis.

The Linking stage cannot progress until Legal and Permanence Decision Making Panel has agreed that adoption is the only plan. The Child Permanence Report (CPR) then needs to be presented by the child’s Social Worker to Adoption Panel for the Best Interest Decision (BID), within 2 months of the decision of the Legal and Permanence Decision Making Panel.

Once the BID has been recommended by the Adoption Panel and approved by the Agency Decision Maker (ADM), the CPR, with the consent of the child’s Social Worker, can be shared with identified prospective adopters. Depending on the timescales of the child, the Prospective Adopter Report (PAR) can be shared with the child’s Social Worker with consent.

Foster carers who are approved as general adopters, but wish to adopt a specific child, must be considered alongside other potential adopters in the Family Finding and Linking stage.

3. Family Finding off Island

An off Island placement for a Looked After Child cannot be considered until the following has been achieved:

  1. Legal and Permanence Decision Making Panel have approved the request and the Adoption Practice Lead has secured funding for the inter-agency fee;
  2. The child is subject to a Care Order;
  3. The court has provided permission for the child to be placed outside the Isle of Man’s jurisdiction.

4. Linking Meeting

If there is more than one potential adopter available to meet the child’s lifelong needs, a linking meeting will determine which prospective adopter(s) the Family Finder and the child’s Social Worker wish to visit. This visit needs to be undertaken within 10 working days of the Linking Meeting and chaired by the Adoption Practice Lead.

Following the visit(s), the Family Finder and the child’s Social Worker need to complete the family finding pro-forma in preparation for the matching meeting.

The Supervising Social Worker needs to provide verbal feedback to the prospective adopters with regards to the decision made in relation to the match. A verbal update needs to be provided to the prospective adopters within 2 working days, via their Supervising Social Worker. A formal letter needs to be provided to the prospective adopter(s) who are being presented for a Matching Meeting.

5. Matching Meeting

The Family Finder to set date/venue for the Matching Meeting, which is chaired by the Adoption Practice Lead. The Family Finder must present the Matching Report (Appendix 5: Matching Report) and the CPR and PAR.

If the match is agreed, a date is set for Adoption Matching Panel, dates for introductions and transition planning are agreed and the Family Finder arranges the Life Appreciation Day. The Adoption Practice Lead will inform the prospective adopters that the match has been successful and the match will be presented to Adoption Matching Panel for consideration.

If the Match is not recommended at the Matching Meeting, the Adoption Practice Lead will inform the prospective adopters and the family finding process will need to be resumed.

6. Life Appreciation Day

These events are organised for the prospective adopters to enable them to meet and share information about the child(ren) they will be adopting. The Family Finder will invite the significant professionals who are known to the child and have knowledge of the child’s family circumstance.

These may include:

  • Foster;
  • Social Worker;
  • Independent Reviewing Officer;
  • Health;
  • Education;
  • Contact Centre.

Birth family meetings are arranged separately, where appropriate and once the Agency Decision Maker has ratified the match.

These events are to take place prior to the Adoption Matching Panel. The Adoption Practice Lead will chair the event and minutes will be taken for the purposes of the child’s(ren) life story. A copy needs to be placed on the child’s electronic record by the child’s Social Worker.

7. Adoption Matching Panel

The Family Finder prepares the panel bundle for the match. The bundle consists of:

  • CPR;
  • PAR;
  • Matching Report (including Adoption Support Plan);
  • Adopter’s Welcome Book.

The Family Finder needs to present the panel bundle to the Adoption Practice Lead no later than 14 days prior to the set panel date. Panel members will receive the panel pack no later than 7 days before panel takes place.

The Family Finder, child’s Social Worker, prospective adopter(s) and their Supervising Social Worker will need to attend Adoption Panel. A verbal recommendation is provided by the panel chair on the day.

The Agency Decision Maker (ADM) will ratify Panel’s recommendation within 14 working days, upon the receipt of the panel minutes and a letter will be sent to the prospective adopters to confirm the decision within 5 working days.

If the ADM does not ratify the Panel’s recommendation and they have further questions to enable their decision making, the Family Finder would need to complete an addendum, which would then need to be returned to the quality assurance process and presented to the next available Panel. Please see Adoption Panel Process.

The transition plan would have already been drafted at this stage. However, the plan cannot be implemented until the ADM has approved the match.