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- / Placing children with adopters
- / Adoption Allowances
- / Adoption Allowance Scheme
Adoption Allowance Scheme
Adoption Allowance Scheme
1. When may an allowance be paid?
1.1. The decision as to whether an adoption allowance is to be awarded must be undertaken prior to any adoption order being made.
An allowance would only be paid once the child has been placed for adoption or the adoption order has been made as determined by the Service Manager, Corporate Parenting (see 4 below).
Such an award can be varied post adoption to take account of a change in circumstances.
1.2. The circumstances under which an allowance may be paid are:
- Where it is necessary to ensure that the adoptive parent can look after the adoptive child;
- The child needs special care which requires expenditure of resources by reason of illness, disability, emotional or behavioural difficulties or the continuing consequences of past abuse or neglect;
- Where it is necessary for the adoption agency to make any special arrangements to facilitate the placement or the adoption by reason of:
- The age or ethnic origin of the child; or
- The desirability of the child being placed with the same adoptive parent as the child's brother or sister (whether full or half blood) or with a child with whom the child previously shared a home.
- Where such an allowance is to meet recurring costs in respect of travel for the purpose of visits between the child and a relative.
1.3. One or more of the criteria detailed in 1.2 must be satisfied before an allowance can be considered. Where the criteria are met, a financial assessment of the prospective adopter(s) must be carried out, to determine eligibility for an allowance. A maintenance allowance will usually only be paid when financial circumstances require this. A standard rate of maintenance allowance applies, but additions may be considered where a child's special needs require this (see 3.6 below).
1.4. One-off payments can exceptionally be considered on a case by case basis where a child's special needs require significant additional expenditure (see 3.6 below).
2. How is the decision to pay an allowance made?
2.1. The question of payment of an allowance must be addressed in reports to the Adoption Panel. It can be considered at the stage where a child is referred to the Adoption Panel as in need of adoption, and/or at the stage where a proposal to match a child with particular adopters is referred to the Adoption Panel, or subsequently at any time prior to the adoption.
The Adoption Panel should make a recommendation based on the criteria detailed in 1.2 as to whether the child is eligible to be considered for an allowance.
2.2. Services for Children & Young People will undertake a financial assessment of the adopters and will invite representations from the prospective adopters as to the need for an allowance to be paid.
2.3. The Service Manager, Corporate Parenting, will consider the financial assessment detailed at Section 3, and any representations made by the prospective adopters, and will make the decision as to whether an allowance should be paid.
2.4. Prospective adopters can appeal the decision using the Appeals process.
3. How is the financial assessment carried out?
3.1. In calculating the level of an allowance both the child's needs and resources, and the adopters' financial circumstances, are taken into account.
3.2. In assessing the amount of allowance the aim is to assist in successful placement and to enhance the child's well-being in the adoptive home.
3.3. The amount of adoption allowance payable must not include any element of reward or profit for the care of the child.
3.4. The following will be considered in relation to the adopters' financial circumstances.
- For those applicants in employment, an income threshold based on Social Security Department`s upper limit for social housing will be applied. Applicants whose net income falls below this amount (and meets at least one of the criteria in 1.2) will be entitled to Adoption Allowance.
- For those applicants in receipt of supplementary benefit, there will be automatic entitlement to Adoption Allowance as the applicants will have already been means tested through the Social Security Department.
- Any financial benefit the child will bring to the adoptive home will be considered with the exception of any benefits relating to disability, or Family Allowance where adopters are in receipt of supplementary benefit.
3.5. Adoption Allowance will be paid at two thirds of the age related, Fostering Network recommended minimum fostering (London) rates. In exceptional circumstances, additions to this allowance and one-off payments may be considered based on the child's needs. The following will be considered in relation to the child's needs.
- Additional expenditure related to any special needs which are not already provided for through disability benefits or attendance allowance. Examples may include, but are not limited to, special diet, replacement bedding, clothing due to heavy usage, repairs and replacements due to damaging behaviours, transport costs associated with medical treatment, adaptations to the home for which funding is not available.
- Legal costs associated with the adoption process.
- Expenditure for the purpose of introducing an adoptive child to the adoptive parent
- Expenditure necessary for the purpose of accommodating and maintaining the child, including provision of furniture and domestic equipment, provision of means of transport and provision of clothing and other items necessary for the purpose of looking after the child
4. Information for adopters about adoption allowances
4.1. The Service Manager, Corporate Parenting, will notify adopters in writing of the decision as to whether any adoption allowance is payable and, if so the proposed amount.
4.2. In situations where payment of an allowance is subject to developments in a child's condition, which may occur after placement, the Service Manager, Corporate Parenting, will advise adopters of the conditions under which any adoption allowance will be paid including its assessment, review, variation and termination.
4.3. Once the Service Manager, Corporate Parenting, has agreed to payment of an adoption allowance the following information will be provided to the adopters in writing:
- The amount of allowance being paid to the adopters;
- The date on which the first allowance will be made;
- The method by which the allowance will be paid, the frequency of payments and the period of payments;
- The arrangements and procedures for review, variation and termination of the allowance;
- The responsibilities of the adopters with regard to their agreement to notify Services for Children & Young People of any changes in their circumstances or those of the child.
5. Requirements of adopters before any adoption allowance is paid
5.1. Services for Children & Young People will require adopters to agree, before any adoption allowance can be awarded and paid, to inform Services for Children & Young People immediately in the event of any of the following occurring:-
The child ceases to live with the adopters on a permanent basis;
- Any change of address;
- Any change in the adopters' financial circumstances or in the child's needs or resources.
5.2. Adopters must also agree to complete and supply to Services for Children & Young People, each year, an annual statement (and verification of) of their net income and the child's financial circumstances, including financial needs.
5.3. An adoption allowance can be awarded from the date a child is placed for adoption or at a later date as determined by the Service Manager, Corporate Parenting.
5.4. Services for Children & Young People reserves the right to cease payment of allowances and to demand repayment of allowances where adopters have failed to disclose financial circumstances or changes to these.
6. Reviews of adoption allowances
6.1. Services for Children & Young People are required to review the allowance to ascertain whether there is a need for the allowance to continue and if so whether it should be maintained at the same level, increased or reduced.
6.2. Reviews will take place:
- Annually after receiving the statement from adopters detailing their financial circumstances together with the financial circumstances of the child; or
- At any other time further to a material change in the financial circumstances of the adopters and/or child.
7. Termination of adoption allowance
7.1. The circumstances under which Services for Children & Young People will terminate the payment of an adoption allowance are as follows:
- When a child leaves home as a permanent arrangement;
- When a child leaves full-time secondary education and commences employment or joins a training scheme;
- When a child qualifies for supplementary benefit in their own right;
- When a child reaches the age of eighteen.
- Any predetermined period for the payment of allowance agreed between Services for Children & Young People and adopters has expired.
8. The rate of adoption allowance
8.1. The rate of adoption allowance will be two thirds of the age related, Fostering Network (London) recommended minimum rates less the amount of any family allowance. As from April 2011 this is:
- Age 0 - 4 £97.87
- Age 5 -10 £111.57
- Age 11 -16 £138.94
These amounts will be reviewed yearly.
Please go to the following link:
- Child protection
- Youth Offending
- Children with Disabilities