Improving the chances of children waiting for adoptive families
An information system for linking children with approved adopters in Northern Ireland.
The Adoption Regional Information System ARIS is a regional database that stores details of children waiting for adoption and approved adopters in Northern Ireland. The purpose of ARIS is to gather information about the circumstances of children waiting for adoptive families and to improve the chances of children finding an adoptive family by suggesting links where Agencies have not been able to place children locally with a suitable family.
ARIS was initially set up under project funding from the DHSSPS and is now operated by the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) behalf of the Health and Social Care Board, the body that has responsibility for commissioning adoption services in Northern Ireland. BAAF (NI) is a registered adoption agency under the Adoption (NI) Order 1987. There is currently no charge for using ARIS.
Background to the regional database
In the publication Adopting Best Care: An Inspection of Statutory Adoption Services (DHSSPS Northern Ireland 2002), it was recognised that “there are currently no formal arrangements between boards to share information about children in need of adoption placements and no facilities to enable trusts to explore the suitability of families who are on the adoption waiting lists of other boards”. The need for a regional family finding database was again recognised clearly in Adopting the Future: a Consultation Document (2006). In that document, the department recognised that ‘the need to find permanent families for children is an intrinsic long-term element of the process of delivering the best outcomes for children who cannot live with their birth parents.’ The Department also recognised that ‘it is essential that planning and performance management are informed by sufficient and reliable information on the adoption service, collected and collated centrally.’
The ARIS Advisory Group
The ARIS Advisory Group consisting of key Stakeholders representing Adoption Agencies, Adopters, Children and the Health and Social Care Board meets quarterly to support the service, agree operational matters and consider areas for further development. This group is independently chaired.