Something we are frequently asked is how much does it cost to adopt a child?
In the current UK cost of living crisis where many households are facing increased food, energy, transport and housing costs, this question is particularly relevant for anyone thinking about becoming a parent.
People are often surprised to hear that there is no cost of adoption charged by agencies for applicants who wish to adopt a child, or children, from the UK.
This is the same whether you choose to adopt through an independent or voluntary adoption agency (VAA) like PACT, a local authority, or a regional adoption agency.
While there is no cost for adopting a child, there are a couple of things that prospective adopters should be aware of that they may have to pay for as part of the adoption process. This can include medical checks from your GP, which many surgeries do charge for, and also an overseas Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check if an applicant has ever lived or worked abroad. There may also be a cost if there is a need for an interpreter and/or translator for any referees who are unable to speak or write in English.
But, there is no fee from your agency for the entire adoption process – from making an enquiry, submitting a formal application to adopt, preparation training, assessment and approval at adoption panel, right through to having a child or children placed with you. Even if you find you need adoption support in the future, PACT is there for all its families, for life. As an adoption charity, PACT fundraises to provide a vast package of support services to its families, without charge, if they should ever need it.
After approval, and when the family finding stage of the adoption process begins, there may be expenses you incur for travel and accommodation for meetings, matching panel and introductions to your child or children, particularly if you adopt with a VAA and you are linked with a child in another part of the country. These costs are usually met by the child’s local authority.
If an adopted child has significant needs that require financial assistance, an adoption allowance may be paid by the placing local authority/regional adoption agency. You may be eligible for a means-tested adoption allowance which can be discussed at the matching stage.
All families will be expected to prepare their home when adopting a child, with an appropriate cot or bed for example. Financial support for any significant additional expenses may only be considered at the discretion of the placing local authority/regional adoption agency.
When assessing a family to become adoptive parents, we are not looking for people with high incomes or vast savings. Being on a low income or receiving benefits does not mean you can’t adopt a child. We are looking for people to demonstrate they can manage their finances and are able to be at home with a child or children for at least 12 months. If you work, this will mean taking adoption leave.
There is a set fee to lodge an adoption order application in the County Court – the process where you formally become the legal parent(s) – but again, the local authority/regional adoption agency usually pay this. There may be legal costs involved if the application is complex. The child’s local authority may pay for part or all these charges, especially with complex cases.
As anyone who has ever parented a child will know, having children can be expensive, particularly now that the cost of living is rising and we are facing economic challenges across the UK. However, the adoption process is designed so that income is not a barrier for someone choosing to become a parent to a child, or children, in need of a permanent family.
To learn more, watch our Talking Adoption show about the cost of adoption below. You can find all episodes of our Talking Adoption show here on our YouTube channel.