How ARIS Works
Referral to ARIS
Information is required in respect of all children with a “best interests” decision and all approved adopters. This includes those who are dually approved as foster carers and as adopters to enable a child to be placed initially on a fostering basis, in advance of an court order freeing the child for adoption.
Referrals should be made within 1 month after “best interests” decision using form ARIS CH (attached)
Children will go “live” on the system after a subsequent 3 month period (or sooner if requested by the social worker). The child’s social worker will be notified when the child is due to “go live” and in the event of any potential links being identified. If agencies have identified a potential link locally the children will not ‘go live’ and social workers are therefore asked to keep ARIS updated.
Referrals should be made 2 weeks after approval decision by way of BAAF Form F (2005) Parts 1a and 1b and the matching pro forma plus date of approval or BAAF Adoption & Permanence Report (NI) Form F (2009) Part A and C9 plus date of approval.
Adopters will go “live” after 6 months or sooner if requested by the social worker. Details of adopters will be sent to the child’s social worker if a possible link is identified. If a local link is proposed then similarly the Prospective Adopters will not ‘go live’ on ARIS but rather basic details will inform the regional statistical data available in relation to prospective adopters.
Consent needed before a referral is made to ARIS
Adopters must give their consent both to their information being forwarded to ARIS and to their referral to go “live” on the system. Consent provided by adopters is given in the understanding that information about them may be shared with other adoption agencies.
Children who have the capacity to understand the purpose and functioning of ARIS should give their consent to being referred.
Where a child is the subject of a Freeing Order, Care Order or Interim Care Order and the agency has parental responsibility, the agency manager must, after consultation with others with parental responsibility, give consent to the child being referred to ARIS. Where there is an Interim Care Order only, the agency should inform the court of their intention to refer the child to ARIS. It is good practice also to advise/seek the consent of birth parents, although this may not always be possible.
Where a child is voluntarily accommodated, birth parents with parental responsibility must give consent to the child being referred to ARIS.
The child’s referral form (ARIS CH) includes a declaration by the person completing the form that necessary consents have been obtained.
Adoption Agency Regulations
Adoption Agencies may share information with other Adoption Agencies as outlined in The Adoption Agency Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1989:
Regulations 15 and 16 provide that subject to a written record being kept by an adoption agency of any access provided, disclosure or transfer of a case record:
“an adoption agency may provide such access to its case records and the indexes to them and disclose such information in its possession as it thinks fit … for the purposes of carrying out its function as an adoption agency [regulation 15 2(a)]; and
“an adoption agency may transfer a copy of its case record (or part thereof) to another adoption agency when it considers this to be in the best interests of a child or a prospective adopter to whom the record related [regulation 16 (1)]