Adoption by kinship carers is rarely considered appropriate because it legally and permanently changes family arrangements. For example, when a child is adopted by their maternal grandparents they legally become the child’s new parents and the child’s birth mother becomes their sister.
An adoption order completely and permanently breaks the link between the child and their birth parents, and transfers parental responsibility to the adopters. However, some adoptions are ‘open’ in that the child remains in contact with the birth parents. Otherwise, birth parents may be able to trace children who have been adopted once they turn 18, and vice versa.
Is there support available for adopters?
Local authorities are required to have a range of services available to support people affected by adoption and you can ask to be assessed for these services. If you adopt a child who was previously ‘looked after’ by the local authority, you may be entitled to an adoption allowance from the relevant local authority. However, this will be means-tested and may be time limited.
If you’re a kinship carer who is considering adoption it’s important to get some independent legal advice to make sure you’re making the right choice.
For advice and information on becoming a kinship carer and the different options that you may have, contact our advice service on 0300 123 7015.