Talk to us about fostering 01722 442 725

Can I adopt and foster at the same time?

Overview: Learn about the differences between adoption and fostering and the answer to the question: can I adopt and foster at the same time? We will also look at common financial queries around fostering and adoption, including if you get paid when you foster to adopt. 

Children and young people come into care in the UK for many reasons. What each of them has in common is a need for a stable and nurturing environment, a safe home. The number of children who come into care with a plan for adoption is relatively small. Most often, children come into foster care on a temporary basis when circumstances mean it’s not safe for them to stay in the family home. Sometimes longer-term arrangements for children need to be put in place. You can find up-to-date figures about looked-after children (in foster care, kinship care or other residential settings) who go on to be adopted on

Can I adopt a child I am fostering?

It’s important to know that in most, but not all, cases, it’s not possible for foster parents to adopt their foster child(ren).  There are distinct differences between adoption and foster care.

  • The legal carer
    As a foster parent, you will provide a loving and stable home for the children in your care. But, legal responsibility for the baby, child or teen will remain with the local authority and birth parents. When a child becomes adopted, their adoptive parents take on the legal responsibility to look after them. They can make decisions for them about important issues like medical care or school/academic choices. 
  • Time and commitment
    Different types of fostering require varying training, time and commitment levels. For example, as a respite carer, you may offer a home away from home for short breaks for children. Short-term foster carers welcome young people and children into their homes for weeks and months, sometimes longer. And in the case of long-term foster carers, the children and young people who stay with you will become part of your family, staying with you for years or until they reach adulthood. Fostering can and does lead to building strong relationships with children, but it differs from adoption. As an adoptive parent, the child or young person will become a permanent part of your family, with you committing to be their parent forever. 
  • Support
    Foster carers and adoptive parents typically have different support networks available to them. As a foster carer, you can call on us as your fostering agency if you are experiencing challenges or need extra support. All our foster carers have access to a supervising social worker, support worker and 24/7 on call help. There are many charities and groups that support foster carers and adoptive parents. However, in the longer term, adoptive parents do not have the same help network or financial support as foster families.  

Foster to adopt

Fostering to adopt is not the typical route to adoption in the UK because there is a big difference between fostering and adopting. Most children and young people – whatever their age – are referred to foster care temporarily with the hope they will return to their family home. It may be that a parent needs to overcome some challenges before this happens – perhaps tackling addiction or health issues. 

Sometimes a change in circumstances, such as the death of a parent or the results of long-term assessments, means that a longer-term plan for a child is needed. If adoption is then decided to be the best option for the child, social workers are likely to investigate whether this is an option within their wider birth family. Next they may explore whether their foster family could adopt them. When a foster parent adopts a foster child, there is a legal application process to follow. There will be court hearings and assessments until a placement order is made. In contrast, if a child comes into foster care with a plan for adoption, fostering will most often be a temporary measure while the legal process for adoption is followed. A foster carer’s role is to look after the child temporarily and then help prepare them for life with their new adoptive family. 

Do you get paid when you foster to adopt?

We don’t focus on foster to adopt placements at Five Rivers. However, there are occasions when foster families have gone on to adopt their foster children due to changing circumstances. As a foster parent, you would typically receive a fostering allowance until a Placement Order is made. At this point, you become legally and financially responsible for your adopted child. Some adopted parents are eligible for an adoption allowance, depending on the circumstances. If you or your partner are employed in jobs outside fostering, you may be entitled to adoption leave and shared parental leave. In terms of broader support, adoptive parents do not have the same access to on-call support as foster carers. However, some families can access financial support from the adoption support fund to fund therapies for adoptive children and help with settling in.

Can you foster after adopting?

We assess every application for fostering on an individual basis. When we look at your application, we will consider your ability to meet the needs of the children or young people in your care and the impact on all children, including any adopted children. It’s essential to fully explore whether fostering is right for you and your family. But having adopted children does not necessarily prevent you from being a foster carer after adopting.

If you’d like to explore further if you could help a child flourish through fostering, our carer enquiries team can help. We can guide you through the differences between adoption and fostering and answer your questions about the fostering process in more detail. Get in touch or call 0330 162 6381.


Enquire Today

Do you feel you have the energy and true commitment to make a positive difference to a child’s or young person’s life?

Get in Touch
Request a Call