How to adopt from Foster Care


If you're a current foster carer, or even just thinking about fostering at this stage, it's important to note that there is a big difference between foster care and adoption.

So, can you adopt your foster child? Find out everything you need to know about adopting from foster care – including how to adopt from the foster care system, information about the adoption allowance and Fostering for Adoption.

How to adopt from the foster care system

Looking to adopt your foster child? Although they may already be an integral part of your family, adopting your foster child isn’t always as easy as you’d imagine. To be eligible to adopt you must have the following adoption requirements:

  • Must be at least 21 years old
  • Must have lived in the UK for a minimum of one year
  • One partner must have a permanent home in the UK, Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man
  • Must undergo the two-part assessment process. Find out more information on the two-part adoption assessment process now.

The adoption approval process is not the same as the foster care approval process – and can take a long time to become approved. This is something to bear in mind when choosing to adopt your foster child.

So, how can I adopt my foster child?

If you’re considering adoption from fostering, the first port of call is to get in touch with your foster care service. They will then be able to give you the information you need to decide whether to adopt. Then, if you meet the adoption requirements and are eligible to adopt your foster child, you must ask yourself whether adoption is the right path for you. Learn the benefits of adopting from foster care and decide whether you can adopt.

The main goal of fostering is not adoption. Fostering to adoption isn’t always an option or a certainty, but it does happen. If you are approved in the adoption process, there is the issue of the child then legally severing all ties to their birth parents – so this can cause complications. This is because, as the current foster parents, the birth parents will know who you are so anonymity is compromised.

What is Fostering for Adoption?

Fostering for Adoption is an approach which aims to ensure more children are placed with potential permanent carers on a fostering basis. This is a government approach designed to speed up the adoption process – often seeing babies or young children placed with fostering families who will initially foster and have a stable home at a much earlier stage in the child’s life.

This approach also protects the child from being moved on again and again. It provides them with consistent uninterrupted care while the local authority seeks a placement order from the courts. It’s likely in these instances that carers will be able to form stronger bonds with the children and provides an opportunity to provide stability at young age – which many adopters who go through the usual route might have missed out on.

For more information on fostering for adoption, contact a member of our helpful team now.

How much does it cost to adopt from foster care?

In contrast to fostering, adoption can work out to be pretty pricey. The weekly foster care allowance can be anywhere between £400 – £600 per week per child – this covers general household expenses, school meals, the child’s clothing, food, mileage and pocket money. However, the process to adopt can actually work out to be quite costly – so it’s important to understand the financial commitments that come with it.

The Independent Adoption Panel will require from £4,000 – £,9000 for the application to adopt. On top of this, you will need to pay the Department of Education £885 – this is to process your application and provide your certificate of eligibility. However, if your income exceeds £45,000 per year, this fee will increase to £1,775. Your financial status will be looked into as part of the adoption process to ensure the child will be able to have the security they deserve.

Challenges of adoption from foster care

Aside from the financial cost of adopting, the adoption process may also present some other challenges also:

  • Emotional challenges: the adoption process is a lengthy one, and having to wait to adopt your foster child could be very emotionally demanding for parents. You may have to wait years for your adoption to be approved, so it’s best to prepare yourself for the highs and lows of the process. The court decides whether your placement will become an adoption and you may feel the situation is out of your control.
  • Parenting challenges: though every foster situation is different, often a child will be placed into care when they have been neglected or abandoned. This can

sometimes lead to challenging behaviours. When fostering, you will have a team onboard to support you 24/7, whereas adoptive parents are equipped with much less support and often will have to rely on one social worker.

Is fostering right for you

It’s also important to consider your goals for adoption – with fostering, the goal will often be reunification, if a long-term fostering plan isn’t already in place. However, when adopting, the goal is to give a child a permanent part in your family throughout their whole life – this is a much greater commitment than foster care.

Another thing to consider is the type of child you will likely get to foster – if you are intending to adopt a new-born baby, this may be more difficult as there are far fewer newborns in the care system when fostering with an independent agency. There is, however, plenty of eligible children and teenagers in need of adoptive families – these are referred to as ‘waiting children’, which means they are ready to be adopted already, and this process is much easier than ‘foster-to-adopt’.

Find out more information on fostering versus adoption today – our helpful guide explains in detail the adoption allowance; the different types of fostering; the differences between fostering and adoption and discusses the concept of foster parents adopting. Still need more information? Get in touch with a member of our helpful team today at Capstone Foster Care.

Thinking of fostering?

If you’ve got any questions or would like to find out more about fostering with Capstone, fill out the form below.
An experienced fostering advisor from your local area will then be in touch.

The information you provide will be used to respond to the enquiry you have submitted, for further information please refer to our privacy policy.

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