A lot of the information in this post will be similar to my adoption panel post so there will be a little bit of repetition, however, for a more comprehensive answer please refer to my adoption panel post.
Like the adoption panel, if you are put in front of matching panel, there is a very good chance that they will come back to you with a positive result – the hard work should already have been done. I cannot however, refer to it as a formality, as the panel still can decline, or at least postpone the match.
Who is on the matching panel?
The matching panel is made up of the same individuals, and types of roles, that adoption panel is made up of.
What is the role of the matching panel?
Like the adoption panel, their power only goes as far as a recommendation. The local authority decision maker has the final say with the match. The panel are charged with examining all the necessary paperwork, and evidence submitted to them about a match between a family (potential adopters) and a looked after child.
What happens at matching panel?
The course of the day is much the same as adoption panel. The significant difference is that the child’s social worker is there as well as your own social worker. For us, it gave us a slightly more reassuring feeling as you have more people ‘fighting your corner’.
The other big difference will be the discussion topics and the questions.
The social workers will go in first, and discuss with the panel a number of key points about the match. The question of you being adoptive parents has been dealt with, so you do not need to fear anything along those lines. A great deal of the discussion points will likely be about the child.
The timings of the matching panel will likely be the same as adoption panel, ours was a lot longer though because of the length of time the social workers were in the panel themselves.
What questions will matching panel ask?
As with adoption panel, I cannot state what your questions will be specifically, however you should be able to anticipate the questions, based on what you know about the child. For example if they suffer from a specific condition, then it is likely one question will be about this.
A likely question they will ask is
‘Why do you feel this is a good match?’
It may be worded a little differently, but it is good practice to think about what to say to this before matching panel, but don’t labour it. Be honest and sincere. If the answer you want to say is simple and obvious then that is proof that the match sounds right.
When do we find out if the panel have approved the match?
As with adoption panel, the panel chairman will tell you on the day, however the decision maker at the local authority/agency will take a few weeks to confirm in writing.
To read more about my matching panel experience, please click here.
For a list of free downloadable process maps of the UK adoption process, please visit my free downloads page.