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Adoption Panels: How to be a Confident Panel Member

21 January, 2025 at 10:00am - 4:00pm


Expert-led training session co-delivered by Elaine Dibben, an independent Social Work Consultant

6 hrs
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Who this is for

Panel members, Adoption practitioners (Voluntary Adoption Agencies, Regional Adoption Agencies and Local Authorities),  Independent Professionals and other professionals who are working with children.


Adoption Panels play an important role in providing quality assurance and objectivity to the decision-making process for approving adopters and agreeing proposed matches between children and adopters. Panels are intended to be multi-disciplinary bodies with a considerable element of independence from the agency with panel members bringing a variety of different skills, knowledge and experience, both personal and professional which they can use to inform their deliberations and where needed to offer challenge and advice to the agency on their practice.

During this expert-led training, there will be an opportunity for panel members to reflect on how the personal and professional experience, skills, knowledge and values they are bringing to their role and contributing the panel process and how this can impact on the decision-making process.

“It was well-prepared, structured and delivered. I enjoyed the groups being mixed differently for each ‘time-out’ and that we knew exactly what our ‘topic’ was.” – Attendee, 2023

Key messages from research on what qualities to look for when assessing and approving adopters and on what contributes to a ‘successful match’ will help participants think about what to look for when reading panel paperwork and we will think about how panel members can identify potential vulnerabilities and use this to inform the questions they ask at the panel meeting so they can be effective in making their recommendations to the agency.

“The training was well structured with a good balance of theory and group work.” – Attendee, 2023

Finally, we will discuss how panels are kept informed about the needs of their agency –  adopter sufficiency policies, the children needing adoption and learning from outcomes of placements.

Learning 0utcomes

  • Consider how their personal and professional experience, values and beliefs contribute to and influence their role on Panel
  • Reflect on the key messages from research on the qualities needed by prospective adopters and what contributes to making a successful match
  • Consider the purpose of applicants attending panel and what weight to give the information gained at panel alongside the written reports provided when making the recommendation
  • Exploring how identifying potential vulnerabilities can help inform the questions they ask to assist with making their recommendation
  • Reflect on how they are kept informed about the needs of their agency –  adopters who are most needed, children needing adoption, outcomes of placements made and how this informs their work on panel

About the trainer

Elaine Dibben is an independent Social Work Consultant offering consultancy and training on adoption and fostering issues and also chairs adoption and fostering panels, the South East Post Adoption Network ( SEPAN) and Coram’s early Permanence Network. She previously worked as the Adoption Development Consultant at CoramBAAF and managed the Independent Review Mechanism (IRM) when it was first established. Elaine has worked in adoption and fostering since qualifying as a social worker in 1988, both in local authorities and at Barnardo’s. She has been involved in writing several books for CoramBAAF including Completing a Child’s Permanence Report (2014); Preparing to Adopt (2014); Adoption by Foster Carers (2016); The Role of Fostering for Adoption in Achieving Early Permanence for Children – Good Practice Guide (2017) and Undertaking an Adoption Assessment in England (most recent edition in 2020).


A member of staff will be in touch with attendees one week prior to the event to share a pre-event delegate pack.

If you have any questions regarding this webinar, please contact us at We will aim to answer your query within two working days.

CVAA accept online payments only. In case you do not have instant access to your company card, we suggest using your personal card instead to book a training event and claim it back with your agency in your expenses. Requesting an invoice to pay for our standard practice events is not possible.

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