Foster to Adopt
What is Foster to Adopt?
Foster to Adopt carers provide early permanence for babies and young children where the local authority thinks a return to the child’s birth family is unlikely and adoption is a more realistic long term option.
The child may be placed with adopters before the court grants the Placement Order. This is known as Fostering for Adoption because the adopters initially act in the capacity of foster carers for the child. If the court later agrees to a plan of adoption, these adopters can then be matched with the child and go on to legally adopt them.
We are particularly interested in extending early permanence to older children, some of whom will have been in the care of the local authority for some time where a return home to family has proved unsuccessful. We are also interested in placing children straight from birth family members in to foster to adopt placements with additional support available to adopters.
Benefits for the child
Fostering for Adoption allows the local authority to place babies and young children in their permanent home at a very early stage. It reduces the number of moves a child must endure which is known to benefit them in the short and longer term in terms of their development and their attachment experiences.
Benefits for the carer
Foster to Adopt carers will have a better understanding of a child’s birth family and history, being able to talk more meaningfully to a child about their birth family when they get older. Carers will get to know a child sooner and if you do go on to adopt them, will be able to share those earliest memories with them.
What are the roles and expectations of a Foster to Adopt carer?
Foster to Adopt carers must provide excellent day to day care of the child and work with professionals in supporting the child’s birth family to maintain contact with their child, sometimes face to face. In some cases this may involve providing extended 'kangaroo' care in hospital for premature babies or babies withdrawing from exposure to substances in-utero, who benefit significantly from extended periods of skin to skin contact.
While the court makes decisions about the child’s future, Foster to Adopt carers must be willing to invest in the short and long term needs of the child with an understanding that if the child cannot return home, they will adopt them.
However, there is no guarantee that the court will grant the Placement Order and therefore the Fostering for Adoption carers need to be prepared to help return a child to their birth family if that is what the court finally decides to be in their best interests.
Becoming a Foster to Adopt carer is not suitable for all prospective adopters; you will need to be emotionally resourceful, flexible and able to manage uncertainties.
What support will Foster to Adopt carers receive?
ACE has a dedicated team of experienced social workers ready to help guide applicants through the Foster to Adopt process. You will also be linked up with experienced Foster to Adopt carers for advice and support and receive supervision in accordance with fostering regulations.
We also provide a range of training opportunities, a fostering allowance and a comprehensive post adoption support service.
The government made changes to adoption leave and pay in April 2015, recognising Foster to Adopt in these changes and allowing Foster to Adopt carers to take adoption leave and pay (if entitled) from the point a child is placed with them.