Routes to achieving permanence for children: foster carers who adopt


With a growing gap between the number of children waiting for adoption and the number of adopters being approved, there has been little discussion of the potential contribution that existing foster carers could make to improving the chances of children waiting for adoption, particularly for those who may be seen as “harder to place”.

There has been no significant change in the number of children being adopted by their foster carers in the last 15 years, with the most recent statistics showing that foster carer adoption accounts for about 10% of adoptions. But with a more positive view of foster carer adoptions, this is an opportunity that could be extended to a wider number of children in care who could otherwise miss out on the chance to be adopted.

This session will help social workers to better support carers in considering this route to permanence by:

  • Examining what research tells us about the benefits for children when foster carers adopt.
  • Helping you resolve the difficult questions which arise when assessing foster carers to adopt, such as their motivation, whether they will continue to foster and what financial support is available.
  • Exploring important considerations in the matching process, including balancing the risks where the carers are known to the birth family, geographical considerations and assessing their support needs.
  • Providing first-hand experience from a carer adopter about her experience of the process


Elaine Dibben, adoption development consultant, CoramBAAF
Clare, foster carer who went on to adopt

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