Could you foster a child with the possibility that it might lead to adoption?
Fostering for adoption protects children from experiencing numerous moves within the care system. It provides children with good quality, uninterrupted care while assessments of their birth family are completed and the court decides on the best plan for the child. Consistent care reduces possible future harm and helps the child develop healthy attachments.
What it involves
Children are placed with adopters who have been approved as temporary foster carers for the child. As a fostering for adoption carer you would provide day-to-day care and work with the child’s social worker to ensure that the child has all of their needs met. At the same time, the child’s social worker will continue assessing the child’s birth parents to see if they have made the changes needed to have the child returned to their care.
The court will make the final decision on the child’s future. If the decision is that the child should be adopted, then the fostering for adoption carers can go to an adoption panel to ask that they become the permanent adopters for the child. Or if the court decides that the child should be returned to their birth family, then the child is returned.
Benefits for the child
Fostering for adoption enables the child to live with potential adopters at the earliest opportunity, and they can form an attachment to the new family sooner. Fostering for adoption carers are specifically trained and assessed to help them make a strong commitment to the child, even though there’s uncertainty about the child’s future.
Benefits for the carer
Fostering for adoption carers have the immense satisfaction of providing stability and security for the child at an early stage, with the possibility that he or she may become their legally adopted child, if agreed by the court. Fostering for adoption carers receive thorough preparation and training during assessment and post-approval.
Adoption leave while you are fostering
A matching certificate is issued following agreement by the agency decision maker. Once carers have the adoption matching certificate, adoption leave can start.
Fostering for adoption carers receive a weekly fostering allowance for the child. The child remains a ‘child in care’, so carers will not be able to claim child benefit. Fostering allowances will stop once the placement has been agreed at adoption panel or the child returns to their birth family or placed in an alternative placement with family friends, for example. We recommend that fostering for adoption carers, if employed, speak to their employer to ensure their full entitlements.
Fostering for adoption carers are supported by their social worker and a fostering support worker who will be able to provide advice and support. The fostering support social worker provides a fostering handbook and all the information needed to help care for the child, including about training courses. They will continue to offer support up until the point of an adoption matching panel or if the child leaves the fostering for adoption placement. Once the placement becomes an adoptive one support will continue via the assessing adoption social worker for up to six months after an adoption order being made. Further long-term support is provided by the adoption support team if necessary.
Contact with the child's birth family
Many children have supervised contact with their birth family. Sometimes the court may order additional contacts, which we must legally support. As fostering for adoption carers your confidentiality is protected, so the birth family will not know your private details. The child’s social worker, or specially trained contact staff, will collect the child and supervise the contact.
Fostering for adoption carers are approved adopters who have the skills, emotional resilience and willingness to be able to offer a child a loving and nurturing home while living with the uncertainty that the child may be returned to their birth family.
You and your social worker will be able to discuss if you and your family have the special qualities needed to offer a fostering for adoption placement for a child. The social worker will record your views and their recommendation in your prospective adopters report. Fostering for adoption may not be suitable for everybody.
How to become an approved fostering for adoption carer
Once you're an approved adopter, you'll receive information about children needing fostering for adoption placements. Information will be shared with you about the child. Usually this includes information about their health, development, family history and the reasons why they are unable to live with their birth family.
Your social worker will support you in deciding if you feel that you would be able to meet the child’s needs and will liaise the child’s social worker to find out further information. If the child’s social worker feels that you are a good match and that you are able to meet all of the child’s needs, then they will visit you and your family at home to discuss the match further.
The agency decision maker considers information which includes the Prospective Adopters Report and Child’s Permanence Report and decides whether to proceed with the placement of the child on a fostering-to-adopt basis.
Your social worker and the child’s social workers will discuss with you when the child will come to live with you. The child’s social worker will continue to visit the child at your home and will keep you updated regarding the plan for the child.
If the court decides that the child should be adopted your adoption social worker, in agreement with the child’s social worker, may recommend that you go to panel and, if agreed, the placement will stop being a fostering placement and become an adoption placement. Once the child has lived with you for 10 or more weeks, your social worker can advise you on how you can apply to court for an adoption order.
For more information tel: 0800 083 77 44.