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Fostering Vs Adoption

What’s the difference between fostering and adoption?

The main difference between fostering and adoption is that fostering is usually a temporary measure, whereas adoption is generally a more long-term, permanent solution. As a foster parent, although you are in the role of a parent, the local authority and child’s birth parent have responsibility for the child – however, as adoptive parents, you have full legal parental responsibility.

Requirements for fostering and adoption

If you’re interested in fostering, there are a set of fostering requirements which you will need to meet in order to proceed in the application process. However, the requirements for adoption differ. To apply to foster, you must:

  • 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
  • You must undergo a two-part assessment and preparation process

There are also requirements for a child to be adopted, which state that:

  • The child must be under the age of 18
  • The child can’t have been married, or have been in a civil partnership, when the adoption application is made

How to choose between fostering versus adoption

It’s difficult to know whether fostering or adoption is the right path for you. However, one of the main considerations should be the demand for fostering versus adoption. The UK currently needs around 8,500 carers in order to support the number of children in care – whereas, the demand for adoption is a lot lower.

Another point to consider is the commitment. Adoption is a life-time commitment – whereas foster care, although still a serious commitment, has more flexibility than adoption. This is because you’re likely to experience a wealth of placements, over different time periods, meaning you’ll be exposed to much more experience, and have the opportunity to help change more young lives.

Long term fostering

If the idea of taking care of the same child, or children, over a long period time is more appealing to you than experiencing different placements, long term fostering could be the solution for you. Also known as permanent fostering, this allows the child the opportunity to still maintain a relationship with their birth family – which may be beneficial to their development. This differs from adoption as, typically, the child will have no contact with their birth parents.

Knowing the demand the fostering industry brings, and the commitment both adoption and fostering require, it’s important to make the right decision for you on whether you should foster or adopt. If you still need help deciding, our friendly professionals are on hand to deliver information and support regarding this decision. Get in touch with us today to find out more.

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