Child Adoption Lawyers Berkhamsted, Amersham & Beaconsfield

How can I adopt a child in the UK?

You can apply to adopt a child if you are at least 21 years old and can provide a permanent, stable, and caring home. To adopt a child, you can go through either:

  • an adoption agency that’s part of your local council
  • a voluntary adoption agency

In order to start the adoption process, you will need to contact an adoption agency and they will send you information about the adoption process. The agency will then arrange to meet you. You may also be invited to a meeting with other people wanting to adopt a child. If you and the agency agree to carry on, the agency will provide you with an application form.

How much does it cost to adopt a child in the UK?

In terms of the adoption process itself, an agency in the UK cannot charge you a fee for arranging the adoption of a child. However, there may be some other costs associated, like court fees or a charge for a police check. It is important to bear in mind that once the adoption has been granted, like any parent, you take on complete financial responsibility for them.

Can you get paid for adopting a child?

The government does not pay parents who adopt children, but there is a range of financial assistance for which you may be eligible.

  • Adoption leave: If you are taking adoption leave through your employer, you will be entitled to statutory adoption pay. As with maternity pay, the amount you are entitled to will decline with time. This does not apply if you are self-employed.
  • Adoption allowance: A local authority might pay this if they determine it necessary to secure an adoptive home for a child, who could not otherwise easily be adopted. The scheme allows for the payment of a regular allowance or lumps sums to adopters under certain circumstances. These could include where the child has additional needs and/or requires special care for a disability. The amount of money offered as an adoption allowance will vary and any allowance will usually take into account your financial resources as a family.
  • Settling in grant: It is possible to apply for a one-off payment to cover initial purchases for a new child, such as car seats. This grant is discretionary.
  • Adoption support fund: This fund intends to help pay for services or training you and/or the adopted child may require.
  • Discretionary housing payments: While waiting for your child to be placed with you.

Like any parent, you may be entitled to child benefit and tax credits, disability allowance for children or carers allowance.

The adoption process normally takes around 6 to 12 months. You will then be matched with a child for adoption

You will have a social worker responsible for seeking a match for you with the children currently waiting. You will have discussed with your social worker the background of the children you hope to care for, and they will have gained an understanding of your strengths and experience. Your ethnic and religious background will also be discussed, and the social worker will have established how you might support children from different backgrounds.

You cannot adopt a child in the UK if you are under the age of 21. You must also have been a resident in the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man for at least 12 months. UK nationals living abroad may not adopt children from the UK. In addition, if you have been convicted of serious offences such as offences against children, murder, serious sexual offences or serious fraud then you will not be able to adopt. Other criminal history does not disqualify you from adoption but will be considered.

If you intend to adopt your spouse’s or partner’s child, you must inform your local authority. You must do this at least 3 months before applying to the court for an adoption order. A prerequisite for this process is that the child must have lived with both of you for at least six months. Similar to adoption via an agency, you will be assessed. This report will help the court to decide if you adopt, and if granted, the court order will give you parental responsibility alongside your partner. This order will remove parental responsibility from the child’s other birth parent and anyone else who has parental responsibility for the child. An adoption order cancels any other type of court order, such as how and when the child’s birth parent can visit the child.

Adopting a child from abroad is similar to the process within the UK and will be processed by a UK adoption agency that may charge a fee. Once you are approved for adoption, the agency will guide you through the following steps:

  1. Your application is sent to the Department of Education to check it meets the eligibility criteria.
  2. The Department of Education will issue a Certificate of Eligibility to Adopt and send it with your adoption application to the relevant overseas authority.
  3. Once matched, you will need to visit the child in their home country and confirm in writing that you have visited them and would like to proceed with the adoption.
  4. You may need to go through the adoption court process in the country you are adopting from and the UK.
  5. Once placement has been finalised, you will need to arrange entry clearance for the child to enter the UK.

The Department for Education charges a non-refundable fee of £1,975 for processing an application to adopt a child from overseas. The fee is exempt from VAT.

It is important to note that you can only adopt a child from abroad if they cannot be cared for in a safe environment in their home country, and the adoption must be in their best interests.

The UK has restricted adoption from certain countries. If you wish to adopt a child from a restricted country, you will need to set out the reasons in writing why your case is exceptional and provide supporting evidence.

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