Adoption by foster carers: a profile of interest and outcomes

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This paper looks at the issue of adoption by foster carers and in particular its financial aspects. The findings stem from a wider study of remuneration and performance in foster care. Drawing on a survey of 1181 foster carers, this paper examines the characteristics of those who have considered adoption. The outcomes of such consideration, including the part played by financial concerns and anticipated loss of support in decisions to proceed with adoption or not, are also examined. The findings reveal a significant level of interest in adoption on the part of foster carers, to which three particular sets of characteristics are found to be associated. First, interest is greater among those more extensively involved in foster care in terms of experience, specialisms and range of placements offered. Second, it is associated with relatively less concern with payment and less ‘professional’ views of foster care. Third, there is evidence that adoption is more commonly pursued by those who feel less valued by social workers. Fears of losing financial help and support were cited as reasons by more than half of all foster carers who had considered but not pursued adoption.

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