Which children need adoption in 2016?
Children needing adoption:
- children over 2 years old;
- sibling groups of two or more children;
- children with learning and or health needs;
- small number of children from dual heritage backgrounds;
- Early Permanence Planning.
If you wish to be considered for children outside of the above categories, then we still warmly welcome you at information evenings.
Most of the children have:
- not had the best start in life;
- been subjected to neglect and abuse;
- lived in a family with friction and sometimes violence;
- had several changes of carer;
- feelings of insecurity, anger and rejection about their past;
- some behavioural and developmental difficulties as a result of their experiences;
- been placed under a Care Order by the Courts and been made subject to a Placement Order by the Courts.
What is adoption like?
Raising a child who has experienced a difficult start in life can be hard work, full of challenges and sometimes disappointments but there will also be great rewards and satisfaction.
- Adopters will be given help and guidance from the Adoption Team to settle the child into their family and overcome their past experiences.
- Adopters may need assistance from professionals in education and health to help them be the best they can be.
- Problems may surface at times but most children make good progress in their adoptive families.
All adopted children need to have information about their birth families and some will have ongoing contact (often through an annual exchange of letters) with their birth family and previous carers. Talking about an adopted child’s past including their birth family with openness, honesty and sensitivity will help them thrive and flourish.
Early Permanence Planning (EPP)
The care system can be the start of a disruptive and difficult journey for babies and young children.
They may move from foster carer to foster carer while the courts reach a decision about their long-term future. Most babies and young children who are adopted have to manage several changes of carer and broken attachments before they are adopted which results in long term emotional insecurity.
Early permanence planning is a child centred adoption process whereby we aim to avoid that and instead give a baby the best chance of a settled and secure life. This is called fostering to adopt and we achieve this early permanence by approving adopters to become foster carers to take a younger child whilst the court makes a decision about whether a child can safely return to their birth family.
We are careful which children we consider suitable for this type of adoption and we have to be confident that adoption is the likely outcome for the child due to a range of factors within the birth family.
If the court agrees that the child should be adopted and the adoption agency approves the ‘match’ between the carers as adopters and the child, then the placement becomes an adoption placement.
The advantages of fostering to adopt for children are:
- it minimises delay in the placement of a child as they are placed with carers who may become their adopters, giving permanence at an early stage;
- it avoids the damage caused ending temporary foster care relationships which they will have experienced as their primary parenting relationship;
- it allows the early months and years of the child’s life to be what most children need and expect.
For the prospective adopter there are a number of things to think about:
- as a foster carer you are caring for the child under the direct supervision of the Local Authority, so you would need to consider whether this is something you would be comfortable with;
- it is highly likely that you would go on to adopt the child, but need to think about the possibility of the court not agreeing the adoption plan and the child leaving your care. If you go on to adopt the child you have cared for, you will be in a very special position. You will have helped your child through the early, unsettling months when plans are still uncertain and got to know and love them from a very young age;
- you will also have much more recent information about birth parents and in certain cases may have met them during handover contact sessions during proceedings.
There is also another route to early permanence called Concurrent Planning
It is similar to fostering to adopt, in that the concurrent carers perform the role of foster carers while the courts decide whether, or not, a child can return to its birth family. The difference between fostering to adopt and concurrent carers is that, concurrent carers are willing to deal with a greater level of uncertainty in terms of the final court decision and will need to support the birth family’s efforts to regain the care for their child.
Calderdale Council is not currently offering concurrent planning through its own approved adopters, but local voluntary adoption agencies: Adoption Matters North West, Caritas Care and Barnardos are continuing to develop this alternative route for children.