Adoption and Fostering: Key Information

There are around 4,000 children in England who need to be adopted every year, and many more who need fostering. According to adoption charity CoramBAAF, the average age at adoption in 2014-2015 was three years and three months. Here you can find information and useful links on Adoption and Fostering in Buckinghamshire.

Adoption

Adopting a child is when a court transfers all parental rights and responsibilities to you and your family and the child becomes part of your family. 

  

Fostering

Fostering is a way of providing safe and secure care for a child (or children) who cannot live within their own family. A fostered child remains the legal responsibility of the council and/or their birth parents and NOT the fosterer. A child is usually fostered until the age of 18. 

Fostering Information sessions take place throughout the year for anyone interested in becoming a foster carer. You can chat to existing foster parents and the friendly fostering team.

Book your place at a Fostering Information session (BCC)

   

Myths

There are many myths around fostering and lots of reasons why people believe they won’t be allowed to foster.  These simply aren’t true.  You can foster regardless of whether you’re:

  • Single, married or have a partner
  • Renting your home
  • From any ethnic or religious background
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, whether single or in a relationship
  • A parent or carer
  • There’s no age limit
  • Employed or in receipt of benefits

   

Facts

Here are some basic things you will need to be assessed as a Foster Carer:

  • a spare room, for the exclusive use of any foster child
  • be 21 years of age or more
  • to enjoy the company of children and young people
  • sufficient time to care for a child or young person
  • ability to work alongside other people in the child’s life
  • not to have a police record for offences of violence or against children
  • to understand or be prepared to learn, how children behave when they’ve been emotionally or physically hurt
  • willing to attend training courses and support groups

   

For more information: 

Becoming a foster carer (BCC)

Did you know that if you look after a child who isn’t a close relative or if you are not the parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, brother or sister of that child and are looking after them for more than 28 days you could be in a private fostering arrangement?  

What is Private Fostering?

Private Fostering is an agreement between the parent and the person who has agreed to look after a child under 16 years of age (or 18 years if they are disabled).  There are many reasons why a child might be privately fostered including:

  • Living with a family member because their parents are arguing or getting divorced
  • Parents work very late and cannot look after them
  • Living with the family of their boyfriend or girlfriend
  • On a holiday exchange which last for more than 28 days
  • If your child is in Boarding School and away for more than 28 days or staying with friends
  • On a long school holiday for more than 28 days

The law says you should tell your local authority six weeks before the arrangement starts or certainly within 48 hours of it starting. This is to make sure formal checks can be carried out to ensure the child is safe and well looked after, getting to school and having their health needs met. It’s also to ensure the child, their parents and carers receive the support they need. 

Private foster carers carry out an extremely important role for the children in their care and Buckinghamshire County Council has a duty to ensure all children needs are being met and that Children’s services are working with both parent and carer to ensure the well being of the child and to provide support and guidance to enable them to do this.

Additional Information and Who to Contact

Information Leaflets [PDF 538KB to 1MB]

There are a range of services available in Buckinghamshire to people who would like to adopt, families who have adopted, birth relatives and adopted adults too. Adoption information session are also held throughout the year for those wanting to adopt:

Find adoption information sessions near you

    

Who can adopt - Myth busting

No one is discriminated against because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, religion or disability. You need to be at least 21 years old and there is no upper age limit however, you need to be fit and healthy enough to see your adopted child safely into adult life. You can also be:

  • employed or unempoyed
  • single or in a reletionship 
  • a homeowner or not

For more Information:

Becoming an adoptive parent (BCC)