Info for social workers

An explanation of how ARIS works is provided in the How we work. All Adoption Agencies and Health and Social Care Trusts were informed by the Department of Health (NI) of the requirement to submit information to ARIS. A copy of the letter sent by the DoH can be viewed as a pdf

The process for referring children and adopters to ARIS

Successful collaboration between adoption agencies and ARIS depends on ARIS staff keeping in regular contact with agencies to update social workers with what is happening with children and families who have been referred. We are happy to talk to social workers for individual children and prospective adopters and rely on you to keep us informed of any new information/changes in circumstances.

Requirements of social workers

Form ARIS CH needs to be completed for children being referred. This form can be downloaded from the ARIS website and should be forwarded within one month of the agency “best interests” decision and any changes notified to ARIS. The details required for referral of adopters are BAAF Form F, Adoption and Permanence (Northern Ireland) Report, section A and section C9 (Matching Pro Forma) or (Form F section 1a and 1b and matching pro forma for adopters approved using the 2005 Form F) plus the date of the agency panel and details of the current link social worker. Details should be forwarded two weeks after the agency’s decision to approve prospective adopters and any subsequent changes notified to ARIS. Each adoption agency has an ARIS liaison representative who can assist you by clarifying any issues in relation to the database. All referrals to ARIS should be sent by post, using recorded delivery. Due to the sensitivity of the data, ARIS will not accept referrals by email. Once a child’s details are entered onto the ARIS database and the child’s agency has confirmed that the child can “go live” on the system (usually after three months), a search will be undertaken to identify potential adopters for him/her. If a possible link is identified, relevant details of the approved prospective adopter(s) will be forwarded to the child’s social worker for them to consider the proposed link further. Social workers should contact ARIS within four weeks advising whether they are proceeding with the suggested possible link. Further searches for a possible link will be conducted by ARIS at regular intervals and each time new adopters “go live” on the database.

Consent needed before a referral is made to ARIS

  • Adopters must give their consent to being referred to ARIS, in the understanding that this means that information about them may be shared only with other registered 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 the necessary consents have been obtained.
It is the responsibility of each agency to ensure that such consents have been obtained and are recorded on file, and that those giving consent understand the implications of their consent.

Security of information on children and families

  • Information is entered on the database only when we have the agency’s confirmation that all necessary consents have been obtained.
  • Access to the database is by means of restricted passwords.
  • ARIS staff are subject to an Access (NI) check and have signed adoption agency confidentiality agreements.
  • Information about children and adopters will be sent only to other adoption agencies and only for the purpose of a possible link.
  • Any general information and statistics reported/published about ARIS will be non-identifiable.

Documents of interest: