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Event Tag: matching

The Principles of Best Practice on Matching and what can we learn from Research

Who this is for

Adoption practitioners and managers (Voluntary Adoption Agencies, Regional Adoption Agencies, Local Authorities, and independent social workers), children’s social care services, children and family social workers, foster carers, kinship carers, designated teachers, and other professionals working with children and families.


This evidence-based seminar will explore best practice in matching children with their adoptive families.

We will consider the research that exists on the process of matching in adoption and how effective this is for children and their families. Recognising that there is a lack of recent research in this area, we will reflect on why this may be and use the day to explore areas that are under-researched, particularly given the implementation of Regional Adoption Agencies and the impact this has had on the adoption landscape.

From the adopter’s perspective, we will discuss how their matching criteria is assessed. We will highlight the effectiveness of appropriate social worker challenge in encouraging prospective adopters to widen their matching criteria where appropriate.  Specific tools that can be used to explore matching criteria will be discussed.

We will highlight the use of adopter profile videos and how these can be an effective family-finding tool in allowing prospective adopters to showcase their strengths. An example video will be shown to portray how these relatively simple videos can help adopters be noticed in what can be a competitive family-finding field.

We are hoping to have a family-finding social worker attend the seminar as a guest speaker to share what they are looking for in prospective adopters, how they shortlist families and how they decide which family’s to progress to a social work visit to.

From the child’s perspective, we will introduce the FLAG tool which is part of the One Adoption Child Focussed Family Building and Birth Parent project. This matching tool supports children’s social workers and family finding social workers to find the right adopters for their children. It involves supporting birth family members as part of the family finding activities, to include them in the process. Whilst there are challenges with this and it will not be possible for every child, the involvement of birth family members fits with the modern adoption agenda and creates unique opportunities for long-lasting relationships to form between adoptive parents and birth family members.

Finally, the signs of safety mapping tool will be showcased that Yorkshire Adoption Agency use once a link is agreed to evidence the strengths and vulnerabilities of the match. This becomes the adoption support plan which is used as evidence to support the link at matching panel and reviewed to monitor the progress of the child/ren’s placement.

Learning 0utcomes

  • To understand what research tells us about best practice in matching, whilst identifying areas for future research on this topic to further inform effective matching.
  • To recognise the value of adopter profile videos in family finding and have a basic understanding of how to support adopters to create these.
  • To consider matching from the child’s perspective and how family finding social workers make difficult decisions about which families to choose for children.
  • To be introduced to the FLAG tool and how this is used as part of the One Adoption Child Focussed Family Building and Birth Parent project and to reflect on the value of including birth family in family finding.
  • To recognise the value of using a signs of safety approach to map out links as a way to evidence the strength of a match and create an effective support tool for families

About the trainer

Sarah Clarke

Sarah is the Team Manager for Training & Adoption Support at the Yorkshire Adoption Agency. She qualified as a Social Worker in 2013 at Manchester Metropolitan University, obtaining an MA in Social Work. Sarah is registered with Social Work England. She has previously worked across two Local Authorities in the fields of Child Protection, Fostering and Adoption. After initially being employed as an Adoption Social Worker at Yorkshire Adoption Agency, she has now been with the team since July 2020 and as a Team Manager since October 2022.


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.

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