The Role of Fostering for Adoption in Achieving Early Permanence for Children

The Role of Fostering for Adoption in Achieving Early Permanence for Children

Elaine Dibben


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For children unable to live with their birth family, there are a number of permanence options for social work practitioners to consider. The newest of these is Fostering for Adoption (FfA), introduced into England and Wales by the Government in 2013. This Good Practice Guide considers its effect on the landscape of permanence planning, and on the children, carers and practitioners involved. Who are the children being placed? How have agencies and carers managed the complexities of this option? And can we identify best practice that has evolved in this field?

FfA is designed to reduce the number of moves a child may experience prior to being permanently placed, and to enable significantly earlier attachments between children and permanent carers. However, it can be complex in practice and, like concurrent planning, needs careful thought and organisation.

Who is this book for?

Practitioners, social workers, foster carers, adopters, panel members and policy-makers.

Read more about FFA in this interview with Elaine Dibben.

What you will find in this book

This guide focuses on identifying and sharing a range of practice developed by local authorities and VAAs around England and Wales in their use of FfA. Taking a practical approach, it explores:

  • The legislative framework and development of FfA
  • The children being placed
  • Best practice in care planning and placement by FfA
  • Recruitment, preparation, assessment and approval of FfA carers
  • Managing the initial fostering placement
  • Progressing the adoption match
  • Post-match considerations and adoption support

The guide is amply illustrated with case examples of good practice from a variety of agencies, and insightful quotes from those who have adopted via this route. A comprehensive range of tools and proformas, covering every stage of the process, is included in the appendices for agencies to integrate into their own services.

This authoritative guide will be of immense help to all those involved in permanence planning, whether in agencies looking to increase their use of FfA, improve their practice, or simply ensure that their work properly reflects the best option for the child.


Elaine Dibben:
Elaine Dibben was CoramBAAF’s Adoption Development Consultant, and has over 30 years’ experience in fostering and adoption.