Both fostering and adoption are ways of providing a safe and nurturing environment for children and young people when they are unable to live with their birth family. There may be a variety of reasons why a child or young person cannot live with their own parents, such as family breakdown, ill health or relationship problems.
The main difference between foster and adopt is a legal one. An adoption order ends a child’s legal relationship with their birth family, whereas looked after children in foster care remain the legal responsibility of the local authority and their birth parents/family.
We often get asked “can you adopt a foster child?” and the answer can be a complex one. Learn more by clicking above.
So, fostering can be seen more as a partnership between the carer, the Local Authority and the birth family of the child, all working together for the best outcome for the young person- but it’s important to remember a foster parent does not have the same rights over the young person as their birth family. Your next question may well be should you choose to foster or adopt?
Do you get paid for adoption?
Adoption on the other hand doesn’t always allow for all adoptive parents to be provided with this kind of support. In most cases once the adoption has gone through, the adoptive parents take on complete financial responsibility for the child. However, the needs of the child are always entitled to be assessed for further support.
We recognise that looking after a child or young person has financial implications, which is why as a foster carer you are paid a fostering allowance. This is made up of a professional fee for yourself as well as a day to day living allowance for the child.
Foster vs Adopt – Which is right for you?
There are many different types of fostering depending on the needs of the child. Often, fostering is used to provide temporary care while parents get help sorting out problems or to help children or young people through a difficult period in their lives, whereas adoption is a much more permanent and long-term outcome.
Compass do offer long-term fostering placements; our carers who offer permanence placements stay in touch with young people they have cared for long after they have left home. Many children return at holiday times, or keep in touch after they have started a family of their own.
The real reward of permanence in foster care comes from seeing young people mature and develop – through the good times, and the more challenging times!
Hopefully you now have a better understanding of the difference between adoption and foster care. If you think you can help to change a young person’s life, request an info pack and start your journey today.