More FAQs

Do I get free childcare for my two year old?

2gether funding entitles up to 15 hours of free childcare and early learning each week to some two-year-olds in Devon.

Your child is eligible if your family is receiving certain benefits, has a household income under £16,190, or if your child has a disability, special educational need, is adopted or placed under a residency order. Find out more on the 2gether website.

Do I need experience of looking after children?

Adopted children can present challenging behaviour because of their past experiences and you will need to be confident in managing this. Therefore, you will need to gain some experience of looking after other people’s children before we can take your interest further. This could involve caring for young family members, friends’ children, volunteering in nurseries or playgroups, for example.

Devon Adoption can give you advice on how to do this.

What costs are involved in adoption?

As part of the official checks, you will need to undertake and pay for a police background check through the Data and Barring Service (DBS). The DBS fee is £46.50 (in 2017) per person paid by you. And also provide and pay for a medical examination report.

If you have lived abroad for any length of time and require an equivalent DBS check for that country, you will have to pay for that yourselves.

If you decide to adopt from overseas you will need to go to a specialist adoption agency who will charge for assessment plus all the costs incurred in travelling to and from the country of choice.

The only other costs are the normal costs of bringing up a family.

Can I adopt a child who is from a different racial or cultural background than my own?

First, we try to match a child to a family with the same or similar racial and cultural origin. When this causes unreasonable delay in finding a home for a child, we will consider adopters who have the ability to value and promote the child’s racial and cultural background despite being of a different origin themselves.

Can I adopt if I already have an adopted child or children?

We welcome applications from those who already have children, including adopted children.

We expect the child coming into the family to be the youngest, usually by a couple of years at least, in order to  ensure they get their needs met by their new family. A social worker will be happy to discuss with you the implications of adoption for the other children in the family and the children are included as part of the assessment process. Contact Devon Adoption 0345 155 1076 or email adoption@devon.gov.uk

Who approves people to adopt children?

Adoption agencies assess prospective adopters. This will be the County Council (we call ourselves Devon Adoption) or a voluntary adoption agency which has been approved by the Secretary of State for Health.

You cannot be assessed or approved to adopt by an independent social worker; you have to be accepted by an approved adoption agency. Finding the right agency for you is important – take your time to look at what is available within the local area and what agency feels right for you.

Your case is then presented to an Independent Panel who make a recommendation, which is later ratified by the official Agency Decision Maker, see Stage 2 of the assessment approval process.

What rights do birth parents have after the adoption?

Once an Adoption Order has been made, the birth parents have no legal rights over the child because all parental responsibility is yours – as adopters – so the birth parents cannot claim him or her back. Read more about birth family contact.

Will the child have contact with his or her birth family?

All children who are adopted have some form of contact with their birth family. In the vast majority of cases this is indirect contact, often called letterbox contact which is usually once or twice a year. 

In some circumstances, where siblings have had to be separated, there will be a plan for face-to-face contact between them several times a year or perhaps there have been grandparents who were important to the child who may want to see them occasionally. 

Face-to-face or direct contact with birth parents is quite rare, but all contact plans are put together on a case-by-case basis and with the child’s needs at the centre – they need to be flexible and change with time as the child’s needs develop. 

You will be fully supported with whatever contact plan is felt to be appropriate for your child.

Read more about birth family contact.

Will I meet the child’s parents?

During the course of introductions to your child, you may well be given the opportunity to meet with one or both of the birth parents, or on some occasions another member of the birth family

This is usually a one-off meeting, and fully supported a worthwhile experience for you as adopters. Firstly it usually alleviates any ‘fears’ about the birth family, often you will have read negative things about them, and this meeting helps put these things in perspective. 

It means you are able to explain to your child over the years that you met his/her birth parents, therefore giving them first-hand information they may not remember, and also that you accept that part of their life you weren’t there for. It also helps enormously with future letterbox contact which in the long term is beneficial for the child. 

It isn’t appropriate in every case, but we would strongly advise you and support you to engage with it, if it is.

If I am approved to adopt, what information will I be given about the child?

Initially you will be given a brief profile of the child, and later a more in depth report called a Child’s Permanence Report (CPR) which will outline in more detail the child’s history and personality

You will have an opportunity to discuss any medical issues with the Adoption Panel’s medical adviser.

If it is felt you will be a good link for a child you will have a home visit from the child’s social worker and Agency Family Finder to discuss in more depth, and be shown more photos and usually a DVD recording as well. 

If all parties want to proceed you will normally be given the opportunity to meet with the current foster carer. All in all, you will have as much information as Devon Adoption do by the time you come to be formally matched with a child. 

Additionally, once you are approved you can access the Approved Adopters’ Zone to access events, workshops, newsletters, useful contacts and much more.

Can I adopt my foster child or foster children?

Yes, if it is in the interests of the child(ren). In the first instance, you should talk to your Fostering Social Worker. We will make allowances for your expertise during the assessment but you may be expected to attend preparation courses because of the significant differences in adoption and fostering.

How do I adopt a relative?

To adopt a relative you must be at least 21 years old. You can apply as a single person or apply jointly with your partner. The relative you wish to adopt must be at least 19 weeks old. 

Devon Adoption will complete an assessment and the usual checks for adoptive parents.

However, if the relative you want to adopt currently lives abroad, read our information on intercountry adoption.

Call Devon Adoption on 01392 381800.

Adoption is not right for me, but I am interested in looking after a child. What could I do?

In that case, you may be interested in providing a temporary home by fostering a child. Look on the fostering website for more details of the process.