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Making an enquiry about a child

Your guide to enquiring about children in Be My Parent who need adopting or fostering

Can I enquire if I'm not a subscriber?
Can I enquire if I'm not approved?
How do I enquire about a child in the Be My Parent newspaper?
How do I enquire about a child on Be My Parent online?
What if social workers don’t get back to me?

Can I enquire if I'm not a subscriber?

No. Although you don't have to be a subscriber to look at some short profiles of children needing adopting or fostering on Be My Parent online, to see these profiles in full, and make an enquiry, you will need to register your details and go on to subscribe.

Can I enquire if I'm not approved?

Yes. You can begin the search for a child or sibling group before or after becoming approved for adoption or permanent fostering. However, the child's social worker may favour the application of approved adopters or foster carers to possibly avoid further delays for the child.

If you are approved, or soon to be approved, most agencies will employ several child placement strategies. In particular, local authorities will be looking to see if any local children are appropriate for you, and may ask you to wait for a certain period, usually up to three months after approval, before responding to children featured by other agencies. Voluntary agencies do not have their 'own' children to place and consequently will consider children from a range of local authorities.

When enquiring about a child, if you have not yet applied to an agency, you could ask the child's agency if they would be willing to assess you at this stage, or would consider arranging for another agency, closer to you, to assess you on their behalf. However, this would only happen in exceptional circumstances, so finding a local agency to assess you is usually the best option.

How do I enquire about a child in the Be My Parent newspaper?

If you subscribe to the Be My Parent newspaper, or your agency receives copies, you can make enquiries about children by contacting the Be My Parent team – or you can ask your social worker to contact us on your behalf.

Go through the newspaper and make a note of the names of the children you would like to enquire about (it can be more than one child), with the codes that appear with their profiles, or the page number. You can then call us with that information and we will give you the name, telephone number and, if we have it, email address of the child’s social worker and their agency.

You can also email us your list, and we will send you those details. When you enquire, we will ask for some basic details about you, such as your contact information and approval status. This is for general monitoring and statistical purposes. We will then pass on the child's social worker details to you.

Sometimes, we may tell you that the child is ‘on reserve’, or that the child has been withdrawn, if we have been given this information by the agency since going to press. Once you have details of the child’s social worker, you can either get in touch with them directly, or ask your social worker to do this, depending on what you have agreed with your agency.

If you ring a child’s social worker directly, they may only give you initial or introductory details about a child. As the more detailed background information beyond the child’s profile is confidential, the child’s social worker will usually share this through your social worker. If you are not yet approved, or do not have an allocated social worker, you may find that you are offered very limited information. However, we always encourage families to be proactive if that feels right for them!

If the social worker is not available, leave your name and telephone number.

How do I enquire about a child on Be My Parent online?

You can look at some of the children's profiles on Be My Parent online without having to subscribe. However, to see all the profiles and make enquiries, you will need to register your details and go on to subscribe.

If you subscribe to our web service, it is very easy to make an enquiry about children using our secure online connection. You do not need to contact us, and we would rather you did not so that we can accurately monitor online enquiries. At the bottom of each web profile is a pink button that says 'Enquire about this child'. By clicking this – after you are given the option to cancel, in case you did this by mistake – your enquiry is sent directly, via our secure online connection, to the child’s social worker. They will also receive the details you provided when you registered – including your personal profile, in which you can give agencies more information about who you are as a family and prospective carer. An email confirming your enquiry will be sent to you, with the social worker’s name, telephone number and email address, so that you have the opportunity to follow this up if you wish. This enquiry will be added to the record of your current enquiries, which you can view in your profile. If you have not received this email, it may be that it has gone straight to the 'spam' or 'trash' folder in your inbox – please do check. However, contact us if you still cannot find it.

What if social workers don’t get back to me?

We ask social workers referring children to our website to respond to enquiries within seven working days. However, we know that sometimes social workers will not respond within that period. Understandably, social workers are often very busy. It may also be that a particular child has received lots of enquiries from many different families, and it is worth being a little patient. However, if you still haven’t heard anything after a considerable amount of time, we would advise that you get in touch with the agency and ask to speak to the team manager. Alternatively, contact us, and we will try and find out what has happened to your enquiry, and whether the child has been linked with a family.

If you're still having trouble using Be My Parent, please see our frequently asked questions or contact us.

Last updated: 04 March 13

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