Despite being able to offer the love, time, commitment and stability needed to adopt a child, some are dissuaded by the perceived costs and paperwork the process entails.
But it’s not as difficult as many people think – and the rewards of adopting are endless.
So, just how much does it cost to adopt a child in the UK, and is there financial support available?
We take a look, as part of Metro.co.uk’s Adoption Month series.
How much does it cost to adopt a child in the UK?
If you are adopting a child in the UK, an agency cannot charge you a fee for arranging the adoption, nor will you pay the government.
However, the process can incur other costs – for example, you might have to pay for legal fees or police checks.
The costs will vary so it is advised you discuss this when you contact the agency as they may be able to explain what costs are likely to arise, and whether or not support is available.
You do not pay a fee to adopt in the UK
You are able to adopt in the UK through an adoption agency that’s part of your local council or through a voluntary adoption agency.
However, if you are hoping to adopt a child from overseas, you will have to pay a fee – normally in the range of £12,000.
On the subject of adopting from overseas, The Centre for Adoption (IAC) website states: ‘Being approved to adopt a child from overseas entails a similar process to that which is undertaken when adopting a child from the UK. The one fundamental difference, however, is that anybody seeking to adopt a child from abroad must pay for the services themselves as there is no government funding available to IAC to undertake the work to prepare and assess prospective adopters.
‘The reason for this difference is that the government funds local authorities to find adoptive homes for the children in the UK care system that cannot return home, and chooses to give to children in need who are abroad through other international aid programmes.
‘The cost to apply to adopt is generally in the region of £10,000-£15,000. There are also additional charges that apply in intercountry adoption to process paperwork with the governments both here and abroad, as well as travel and accommodation costs.’
These costs are set by your local authority or voluntary adoption agency.
Do adoptive parents get paid by the government?
Adoptive parents are not paid by the government, but a range of financial support is available to them.
All adoptive families have a legal right to an assessment of adoption support needs from their local authority. They can request this at any point.
The available support may include:
Adoption pay and leave
Adoption pay and leave entitlements for adoptive parents are similar to the pay and leave rights available to birth parents. That means most people are entitled to leave of up to 52 weeks and adoption pay.
An allowance may be available, especially if you are adopting a child who may not otherwise be adopted, due to the extra costs associated with looking after them.
The amount you are entitled to is decided – and paid – by your local authority and is means-tested.
‘Settling-in grant’ for adopters
You may be able to apply for one-off payments to help cover the costs of purchases for your child, such as a bed or car seats. This is discretionary and you should speak to your social worker if you’d like to apply for the grant.
Adoption Support Fund (ASF)
This fund helps pay for services and training for adoptive parents who need it. To access the fund, your local authority will need to conduct an assessment of your support needs.
In addition to the above, depending on your circumstances, you may be entitled to child benefit and tax credits, a carers allowance or a disability living allowance for children.