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Adopters health

The adoption agency has a duty under AAR 25.3 to obtain a full health assessment and health report on the prospective adopter from a registered medical practitioner.


Health is a key and complex factor in assessing whether a prospective adopter has the capacity and potential longevity to care for a child into adulthood. If a prospective adopter
has particular health problems, these need to be identified and assessed by a medical practitioner so that the effect on their capacity to care for and parent a child can considered
as fully as possible.

An assessment should be made on the facts of the individual case and the agency medical adviser should see all medical reports. In particular, their specific advice should be
sought in every case where there are health issues or where the examining medical practitioner expresses doubts about the prospective adopter’s health. It is quite possible for
two separate prospective adopters to have the same health condition or disability but its relative severity may mean that one person has the capacity to care for a child while another
does not. Decisions on such complex and difficult issues require specialised medical expertise.

Where there are serious health issues to consider, the medical adviser or another doctor should meet with the prospective adopter. In such cases, the adoption panel’s medical
adviser should be available at the relevant adoption panel meeting to advise the panel.

The prospective adopter’s health report may reveal a range of information which might, for example, include a history of mental heath problems, previous relationship difficulties,
significant past losses or trauma, or sexually transmitted diseases.

Where a couple are applying to adopt, they may be unaware of their partner’s health history. Such information remains confidential to the person it is about and should not be
shared with their partner unless the prospective adopter gives their written permission.
Where a member of a couple has not shared significant health-related information with their partner, the practitioner should discuss this with them on a one-to-one basis to explore their
reasons. Support should be offered and the prospective adopter encouraged to share such information with their partner. If they still remain reluctant to do so, this raises questions
about the degree of openness in their relationship.

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