Fostering for adoption

Foster to adoptCould you foster a baby or child with the possibility of adoption?

‘Fostering for adoption’ is used for babies and children who are in local authority care where the plan is likely to be adoption, but who still have a chance of being reunited with their birth family. The majority of children go on to be adopted.

People like you are fostering for adoption…

Rachel and Ben from Exeter are almost at the end of their fostering for adoption journey, with their application to adopt 26 week old Chloe due to be decided on by the courts at the end the month. Read their story here.

Louise and Neil from East Devon are also adopting through Devon Adoption on the fostering for adoption programme.  Read their story here.

Why fostering for adoption?

Fostering for adoption protects children from experiencing multiple moves within the care system. It provides children with good quality, uninterrupted and consistent care whilst detailed assessments of their birth family are completed and the Court decides on the plan for the child. Consistent care for the child reduces possible future harm and it supports the child in developing healthy attachments.

What does it involve?

Babies and children are placed with approved adopters who have been assessed and approved as temporary foster carers for the child. The fostering for adoption carers will provide the day to day care for the child and will continue to 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 working with and 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 plan for the child. If the decision is that the child should be adopted then foster to adopt carers can go to an adoption matching panel and if panel agree, will become the adopters for the child. Alternatively, if the Court decides that the child should be returned to their birth family then the child is returned.

Why is fostering for adoption good 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. Being specifically trained and assessed foster to adopt carers they are able to make a strong commitment to the child, even though there’s uncertainty about its future.

Will the child still have contact with their birth family?

Yes, many children still do continue to have supervised contact with their birth family. Devon recommends a maximum of three supervised contacts per week for children in a foster to adopt placement. However, sometimes the Court may order additional contacts, which if ordered by the Court, Devon (as the local authority) must legally support.

As fostering for adoption carers your confidentiality is protected, so the birth family will not know your private details. If the child has contact, their social worker, or specially trained contact staff will collect the child and supervise the contact. Fostering for adoption carers will be expected to get the child ready and pack their bag with required items, such as nappies and milk.

What are the benefits for the carer?

Fostering for adoption carers have the immense satisfaction of providing stability and security for the child at their early stage of development, with the possibility that the infant may become their legally adopted child, if agreed by the Court.

Fostering for adoption carers receive thorough preparation and training during their prospective adopter’s assessment and post approval.

Will carers get paid?

Yes, fostering for adoption carers will receive a weekly fostering allowance for the child and will be entitled to adoption leave. The child remains a ‘child in care’, so carers will not be able to claim child benefit. Devon Adoption team always recommends that fostering for adoption carers, if employed, speak to their employer to ensure their full entitlements. Fostering allowances will cease once the placement has been agreed at adoption matching panel or the child returns to their birth family or placed in an alternative placement with family friends etc.

What support is available for fostering for adoption carers?

When a child is placed the fostering for adoption carers are supported by a fostering for adoption social worker who will be able to provide advice and support. The fostering for adoption social worker will provide a fostering handbook and details regarding fostering requirements but also information of any available support groups and training courses. They will continue to offer support up until the point of an adoption matching panel or if the child leaves the foster to adopt placement.

Do fostering for adoption carers have a different type of adopters assessment?

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 whilst living with the uncertainty that the child may be returned to their birth family.

During the prospective adopter’s assessment your social worker will provide further information and training on fostering for adoption. You and your social worker will be able to discuss if you and your family have the special qualities needed to offer a foster to adopt 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 do you become an approved fostering for adoption carer?

Fostering for adoption is not a generic assessment, fostering for adoption carers are approved following an assessment of the capacity of adopters against the needs of the child.

Once an approved adopter, you will receive information about children needing foster to adopt placements. Information will be shared with you about the child; usually this includes information about their health, development, birth 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 family finding 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 social worker will recommend if you should become a temporary foster carer for the child. If agreed by all parties that you are able to meet the child’s needs then you will need to confirm this in writing. The child’s family finding social worker will then complete an assessment, which you will need to read, agree and sign, which is provided to the fostering decision maker for their recommendation.

If agreed by the fostering decision maker, you then become a temporary foster carer for the child. 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, then your adoption social worker in agreement with the child’s social worker may recommend that you go to matching panel and if agreed the placement will cease being a fostering placement and it becomes an adoption placement.

Once the child has lived with you for ten or more weeks, your social worker can advise you on how you can apply to court for an Adoption Order.

The majority of children go on to be adopted.

Interested? Find out more…