A foster carer adoption is where the child has not been placed with you for the sole purpose of adoption. This therefore means that if you are the child’s foster carers or have a residence or special guardianship order but you now want to adopt the child, it is classed as a non-agency adoption.
If the above applies to you then before you can make your application to the court you have to give your local authority notice of your intention to adopt the child. This notice must be given at least three months before you intend to make your application, however, your application must be made within 2 years of giving notice.
As a foster carer the child must have been living with you for more than one year before the application. If you are a relative or guardian then the child needs to have lived with you for three out of the five years before the application is made. If you do not fit this criteria then you can ask the court’s permission to deal with your application sooner than these timescales allow.
Once you have given notice the local authority should come and speak to you about your hopes and expectations from the adoption and also begin to prepare a report for court. This report is very similar to the one completed in agency adoptions and will covers all aspects about yourself and the child. It will also set out any additional support services it feels you need to care for the child(ren) until adulthood; this can include an allowance, therapy etc.
As the parents still retain parental responsibility until the adoption order is made, they do have the right to oppose the adoption order or raise any issues they have in relation to contact. If the parents want to oppose the adoption application then they will need to seek permission from the court before the application is fully dealt with.
At the end of the court process you will be invited back to the court on a date that only you and the social worker are aware of for an adoption ceremony where you are allowed to take pictures of you and your family with the judge.
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