Parents And Children Together (PACT) is raising awareness of an initiative it offers that enables babies and young children to be fostered by people who want to adopt them.
PACT, which supports families across the South East through adoption, award-winning therapeutic support and community projects, is keen to hear from people interested in its Foster for Adoption scheme.
This initiative enables babies and young children to be placed with potential adopters under a temporary fostering arrangement while decisions are made through the family court process about the child’s future.
Foster for Adoption arrangements aim to give stability and continuity of care as early as possible to children who are very likely to be adopted. These children, who social workers believe are at least 80 per cent likely to need adopting, are placed with foster carers who are also approved as adopters. If the court agrees that the child should be adopted, the placement becomes an adoption placement.
Michelle* and Phil* are caring for Charlie*, who is just over two, through PACT’s Foster for Adoption initiative. Charlie was 21 months old when he was placed with the couple, who are now applying to adopt him.
The couple, who also have a five-year-old adopted daughter Mia*, first heard about the scheme while they were being matched with their daughter, and when they decided to adopt another child they were keen to try it.
Michelle said: “We thought this seemed like a good idea considering the aim was to place children as soon as possible to minimise the amount of moves they might have to make. The main reason we decided to go down this route was that we saw it as a chance to have a child placed with us sooner, so they would be younger, and also we thought being dual approved carers (approved to both foster and adopt) would make us more attractive to local authorities and hopefully increase the number of profiles we could consider.”
Earl and Rebecca started caring for Emily* when she was six-and-a-half months old through PACT’s Foster for Adoption programme and went on to adopt her. Earl and Rebecca were asked to consider Foster for Adoption for Emily as she is a younger sister to their two other adopted children.
Earl said they had found the process to be extremely straightforward.
“We have worked with PACT with our previous adoption so we already knew how it would probably go. It has actually been smoother than expected. PACT has always been a joy to work with and we have felt supported through the process each step of the way.”
Earl said the real benefit they had experienced of Foster for Adoption was the fact that Emily could be with them sooner.
He added: “I think it is a great idea. It is so much better for the child to be in a long-term fostering to adopt situation than simply fostering with no end in sight.”
PACT Chief Executive Jan Fishwick said: “We are very keen to recruit more people who are willing to consider Foster for Adoption, as potentially this allows a permanent home to be found for a child as early as possible, which is obviously hugely beneficial. For children this means they benefit from stability and continuity of care from the earliest possible stage in their lives, and for parents it can mean they get a very young baby placed with them enabling them to get to know them sooner and share their earliest memories.
“However, we know that this route into adoption might not be for everyone, given the significant uncertainties involved. What we can offer is that anyone who does embark on this process with PACT will be supported throughout by our sensitive and experienced social workers. If you are at all interested in finding out more about Foster for Adoption or have any questions please do get in touch.”