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Foster to adopt

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What is foster to adopt?

Foster to adopt involves placing young babies with potential adopters, who are also approved as temporary foster carers. This happens whilst decisions are made about the child's future within the court process. 

What are the roles and expectations of a foster to adopt carer?

Foster to adopt carers provide early permanence for babies and young children, where the prognosis for rehabilitation to the birth family is poor. Assessments completed prior to a baby's birth or early in a baby's life, suggest that adoption is the most realistic long-term option.

In each case, it is carefully considered by all professionals involved, whether the child should be placed in a traditional placement, or a foster to adopt placement.

Foster to adopt carers:

  • Ensure excellent day-to-day care of the child
  • Work with professionals in supporting the child's birth family to maintain contact with their child

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
  • Have an understanding that if the child cannot return home, they will adopt them 

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.

Advantages for the child

  • A child benefits from stability and continuity of care from the earliest possible stage in their lives, with fewer major changes to cope with
  • It allows for early attachment needs to be met and early bonding to begin. This avoids the damage of terminating a child's relationship with foster carers, before going on to be placed for adoption
  • Potentially, it allows for a permanent home to be found for a child as early as possible. Research shows that risks of developmental and behavioural difficulties lessen, the earlier a child is placed with permanent carers

Advantages for you

  • You may get a very young baby placed with you, potentially straight from hospital. However these children can come with complex needs, which we might not know about when they are placed with you
  • You get to know a child sooner. If you do go on to adopt them, you will be able to share those earliest memories with them
  • You 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

Things to consider

  • There are lots of uncertainties with a foster to adopt placement. Can you deal with these?
  • A child may be returned to their birth parents, or another member of the birth family, if the court decides this is best for the child. How will you cope if this happens?
  • Can you manage the role of a foster carer, which includes attending regular meetings and facilitating contact with the birth family?

What support will foster to adopt carers receive?

Norfolk 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. 

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. It allows foster to adopt carers to take adoption leave and pay (if entitled) from the point a child is placed with them. A leaflet outlining employment rights can be provided upon request. 

Contact Norfolk Adoption Service to find out more