When you foster, you provide a temporary home and family life for someone else’s child when they are unable to live with their birth family. Most children who are fostered will, hopefully, return home. Where this isn’t possible, alternatives will be considered, such as placing the child with other relatives, being adopted or possibly being permanently fostered.
Unlike adoption, a fostered child remains the legal responsibility of the council and/or their birth parents. Foster carers receive regular support from their social worker, training and financial support towards the cost of caring for the fostered child.
When you adopt, a court permanently transfers all parental rights and responsibilities for caring for someone else’s child to you. You provide the child or children with a permanent home and the child becomes part of your family, as if they had been born into it, even taking your surname.
Adopters receive regular support from the local authority that has placed the child with them, until an adoption order is made. Post-adoption support is available.
Early Permanence refers to the arrangement where a child is placed with a family at the earliest opportunity, this is achievable by placing with approved adopters who have been prepared and assessed as suitable to undertake a temporary fostering role, they are then able to go on and adopt the child once the court proceedings have been concluded.
Early Permanence is usually, but not exclusively, used for babies and young children coming into care, they have a high risk of being unable to return safely to the care of their birth families. They are likely to need adoption but still have a chance of being reunited with their birth families. If the court decides a child’s future is best protected by adoption, the child already has a secure attachment to their carers who are now able to adopt the child.