Adoption Allowance Scheme
Adoption allowances can be paid when certain criteria are met. Adoption allowances are the exception rather than the norm.
Adoptive parents are normally expected to meet the costs associated with bringing up a child. Adoption allowances are available when unusual costs are, or are likely to be, experienced.
- When can an Adoption Allowance be paid?
- What is an Adoption Allowance?
- How can I apply for an Adoption Allowance?
- How does Aberdeenshire Council decide on the amount of the Adoption Allowance?
- What happens if my circumstances change?
- Are Adoption Allowances reviewed?
- Can the Adoption Allowance be stopped?
- Remuneration for former Foster Carers
- How do I find out more?
An adoption allowance is payable to an adoptive parent to help support:
- the placement of the child, or
- the continuation of adoption arrangements after an adoption order is made
It can only be paid where:
- it is necessary to make sure the adoptive parent can look after the child
- the child needs special care requiring more spending because of illness, disability, emotional or behavioural difficulties or the continuing consequences of past abuse or neglect
- the Council needs to make special arrangements to help the placement / adoption, because of the child's age or ethnic origin, or if the child needs to be placed with the same adoptive parent as their brother or sister or a child they have previously shared a home with
- an allowance is needed to meet regular travel costs to keep contact with a birth relative
Aberdeenshire Council can make a contribution to meet the following kinds of spending:
- legal costs - including court fees about adoption
- costs for introducing a child to their adoptive parents
- costs for accommodating and keeping the child
An adoption allowance can be paid every so often to meet a need which is likely to result in spending on a regular basis. It can also be paid as a single payment - for example for legal fees for the prospective adopters’ application to the court to adopt the child - or in instalments - for example to support contact between the child and their birth family.
The base rate of the adoption allowance is two thirds of the fostering allowance. Any adoption allowance is paid on a sliding scale at a percentage of the base rate.
Prospective adoptive parents need to complete a financial assessment form at the stage of matching with a child / children - assuming the criteria for payment of Adoption Allowance have been met.
Your Family Placement Worker will check the financial information. Aberdeenshire Council will then consider your financial circumstances and the financial needs of the child.
A financial application needs to be made, except for a contribution towards legal fees for the adoption.
Adoptive parents can apply for an adoption allowance for a child they have adopted at a later stage.
Aberdeenshire Council assesses the financial circumstances of prospective adopters taking into account:
- your income
- your financial resources
- your outgoings and commitments
- the financial needs of the child
Other grants, benefits or allowances available as a result of the adoption are also taken into account for a periodic payment.
The amount of the allowance is set by looking at the costs of any additional needs associated with the child’s circumstances.
Meeting any of the criteria in When can an Adoption Allowance be paid? does not automatically entitle you to an adoption allowance.
Aberdeenshire Council’s Agency Decision Maker will make a decision on whether an adoption allowance can be paid and the amount payable based on the information in your financial assessment. They will tell the you how this has been worked out and how it will be paid. A periodic adoption allowance will normally begin. It can be paid when the child is placed with you, if this has been agreed.
Before an adoption allowance is paid, prospective adoptive parents have to agree, in writing, to let Aberdeenshire Council know immediately if:
- you change your address
- the child ceases to live with you
- there is a change in the your financial circumstances, or in the financial needs or resources of the child
- the child leaves school and begins employment
- the child qualifies for income support or job-seekers allowance
- the child reaches the age of 18 - unless the child continues in full time education or training in which case the allowance may continue until the end of the course or training that the child is doing
- the child dies
The adoption allowance is reviewed if there is a change to your circumstances. It may lead to a change in the amount payable.
Adoption allowances are reviewed each year around April.
Adoptive parents need to complete a financial assessment form and to return it. From the information supplied, Aberdeenshire Council will assess whether there is a continuing need for the adoption allowance. If so, whether it should be kept at the same level, increased or reduced. A meeting with a Social Worker may be arranged. You are told in writing about the outcome of the review.
If you do not keep to the conditions of the adoption allowance agreement - for example you fail to tell the Council of any changes or to fail to return the annual statement - the Council may vary, suspend or stop the adoption allowance.
Aberdeenshire Council may stop the adoption allowance if:
- the child stops living with you
- the child finishes full time education and starts employment or qualifies for job seekers allowance or income support in their own right
- the child reaches 18 - unless they continue in full time education or training, in which case the allowance may continue until the end of the course or training
- an agreed period of payment expires
Former foster carers who are adopting a child they have been caring for may be entitled to an element of pay included in the adoption allowance.
Where Aberdeenshire Council Foster Carers adopt a child they have fostered and do not continue as Foster Carers, the Skills Payment paid to Foster Carers will end. In these circumstances, the amount paid from the adoption allowance will be capped at Level 2 Skills Payment, and will:
- reduce by 25% of the original pay awarded every six months from the date of the Adoption Order
- finish two years from the date of the Adoption Order - unless there are exceptional circumstances for it to continue
If you would like more information about the adoption allowance please email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
or call us on 01467 625555.