We had the meeting with our social worker and her peers yesterday. The first piece of news to tell you is that matching panel is definitely cancelled and has not been rescheduled. Because there are still all these meetings to be booked and held, it may not be rescheduled until April or May as the local authority only holds matching panel once a month :(
The meeting went very well. All the social workers had read the (old) paperwork and were up to speed with the facts as we know them so far. We discussed how good a match it was (looking at what the children need and what we can offer) and they all recommended that the match was very good. We looked at why those children and what we like about them. We looked at the support packages that we want the local authority to provide - obviously some negotiations to be had there! We looked at theraputic packages (e.g. theraplay / counselling for the children and us if needed), financial packages (e.g. settling-in allowance - a one off payment per child such as £200, adoption allowance - £10 per month per child), expences for introductions (e.g. hotel, petrol and subsidence costs) and so on. By the way the figures quoted are just ideas, we may get more or we might not get anything!
The local authority is obliged to provide what has been agreed in the support package for the first three years after placement (when the children come to live with us). Then any support needed after that comes back to our local authority. just because it has been agreed doesn't automatically mean we get it - we have to prove that it is needed and that's where our agency will be able to support us with that.
So we left the meeting happy that the match is a good one and disappointed that we had no further dates in the diary. A yawning abyss in front of us.
Then on the way home Mungo's phone rang, it was our social worker to say that during the meeting the children's social worker had emailed her a date for us to meet up! Wooo hooo! At last some more movement! We are to meet Midge, Tidge and Squidge's new social worker on 4th March - she has been their social worker for three months now and we havent met them yet! Apparently the delay was because she had to UPDATE the paperwork, not read it. The CPR (info on the children) is a year old, so we actually dont mind the delay because there's going to be some benefit for us. We have been waiting for the updated paperwork since November and it is a show-stopper, in that if we don't get to read it then we will refuse to go to matching panel. We don't know how the children have changed in a year.
We are still angry that matching panel has been put back but we are happy that the link is still on. We just hope the new social worker likes us when she meets us!