Early Permanence through Fostering for Adoption provides a framework for the local authority to place babies and young children in their permanent home at an earlier stage. This reduces the number of potential moves a child will have as they are placed with prospective adoptive parents on a fostering basis sooner. Prospective adopters are temporarily approved to be their foster carers prior to being formally matched. This is known to benefit children in the short and longer term in terms of their development and their attachment experiences. If the court later agrees to a plan of adoption, these carers can then be matched with the child under adoption regulations, and then proceed to legally adopting the child.
Fostering for Adoption carers must provide excellent day to day care of the child and work with professionals in supporting the child’s birth family to maintain contact with the child, including face to face meetings. Whilst the court makes decisions about the child’s future, Fostering for Adoption carers must be willing to invest in the short and long term needs of the child with an understanding that if the child cannot return home, they will adopt them. However, they must also be prepared to support a child to be returned to the care of their birth family if this is determined by the court to be in the child’s best interests. Within ACE 95% of children placed on this basis have subsequently been adopted by their carers (figures correct as of November 2022).
Becoming a Fostering for Adoption carer is not suitable for all prospective adopters. You and your support network will need to be emotionally resourceful, flexible, and able to manage uncertainties. ACE believes that this model is child-centred because it is the adult making an informed choice to manage this period of uncertainty whilst the child experiences good quality, uninterrupted and consistent care. ACE social workers will support and guide you through this process. You will also be linked up with experienced Foster for Adoption carers for advice and support and receive supervision in accordance with fostering regulations.
ACE are particularly interested in extending early permanence to older children, some of whom will have been in the care of the local authority for some time where a return home to family has proved unsuccessful. We are also interested in placing children straight from birth family members into foster for adoption placements with additional support available to adopters. These placements may also prevent an additional move for a child if their existing placement comes to an end unexpectedly; for example a period of residential assessment with a parent ending or an existing foster carer wishing to end the placement for any reason.
Unborn Jessica is the first child of her parents who remain in a relationship with each other. Both parents have a long history of heroin dependency. Children’s Services were notified of the pregnancy at 4 months.
A pre-birth parenting assessment was completed, and protective factors were noted to be birth mother’s honesty in relation to her drug use and the support of her parents. However, the assessment concludes that both parents have a history of chronic drug addiction and have continued to use drugs during the pregnancy, with no insight into the impact of this on their parenting capacity. It is not recommended that unborn Jessica remains in their care when she is born.
Extended family members are not able to offer a permanent home for unborn Jessica.