Adoption & Fostering
Statutory Adoption Pay
Help accessing essential therapies through the Adoption Support Fund
An insight into Army families and fostering
Links and further information
The MOD recognises that there are a number of Service personnel and their families who are both willing and well suited to adopting a child or children and that there are many children who are waiting to be adopted. Read more
Adoption can be a long process and military life may impact on this process - you may experience difficulties in dealing with your Local Authority (LA), Devolved Administrations or other UK agencies.
You are entitled to use any adoption service you wish to. Due to the potential difficulties of military life, many Service families prefer to register with SSAFA’s Adoption Agency because they often better understand the complexities of military life.
They are able to act directly for Service families or they can provide assistance in dealing with other adoption agencies.
Once adopted, a child becomes a dependant in exactly the same way as any other dependent child of a Service person and this entitles your family to the same benefits and allowances that a natural child is entitled to.
Note: Any change in your family circumstances may change your soldier’s PStatCat status so it is important to register this.
The Armed Forces’ Occupational Adoption Leave Scheme (AFOALS) aims to provide support for serving personnel who are newly adopting children and is comparable to maternity leave arrangements. Adoption Leave under the AFOALS scheme is available to qualifying Service personnel who have been notified of being matched with a child and who are not taking Paternity Leave (Adoption) under the terms specified in Chapter 22 of JSP 760. Read more
Adoption leave is given to recognise the adoption of a child (or children) up to the age of 18 years. It is available to both male and female Service personnel and to those adopting a child on their own or one member of a couple adopting a child together.
Only one parent of the couple is eligible for adoption leave/pay; the other parent (male or female) may be eligible for Paternity Leave and pay. No one can take both Adoption Leave and Paternity Leave for the same adoption placement.
Service personnel have a requirement to notify their unit HR administration staff of any changes to their family circumstances that will result in a change in their PStatCat. For more information on PStatCat status your soldier should read JSP 752, Chapter 1, Section 4. For more information on adoption leave your soldier should read JSP 760, Chapter 21 which can be accessed on the Defence Intranet. If you would like more explanation about your entitlement, please contact Karen Ross at email@example.com.
Service personnel are entitled to receive Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) if they meet the qualifying criteria. SAP is a weekly payment that is usually paid for a maximum of 39 weeks commencing from the date that ordinary adoption leave (OAL starts) until the end of the 13th week of additional adoption leave (AAL).
The amount of SAP received depends on your soldier’s rate of pay. More information on SAP can be found in JSP 760 Chapter 21 available on the Defence intranet. Or your soldier can speak to their regimental admin office (RAO).
You will be entitled to occupy Service Families Accommodation (SFA) from the date of the adoption being approved in recognition of the need to establish a home before any child is placed with the adoptive parent(s).
It is usually a requirement that the adoptive child has their own bedroom in the home unless they are sharing with a sibling and this should be taken into account when SFA is applied for and will also link to your soldier’s PStatCat status.
JSP 464 Chapter 3, 0310 details this entitlement.
The Adoption Support Fund is to be rolled out nationwide from May 2015 and will help to pay for essential therapy services for adoptive families as and when they need it. The government will fully fund this initiative for the first year. Read more
Services will be provided that can help children come to terms with difficulties they may experience due to being adopted such as behavioural therapy, play and music therapy, family support sessions. The fund will be used to support adopted children and young people up to 18 years.
Support from the fund will be available after the adoption court order and can be used to purchase services from the private and voluntary sector, as well as councils and Child and Adult Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
Fostering can be either a short term or a longer term arrangement where a child taken into care is placed with a foster family on a temporary basis. Fostered children are not legally dependent children and this can cause difficulties for Service personnel and their families when considering fostering, particularly with entitlement to SFA. Read more
The MOD is keen to support Service families to live their lives the way they want to and this includes support, where possible, with fostering children.
However, the existing policy only allowed those fostering and requiring SFA above entitlement to be eligible, not entitled.
This policy has been reconsidered by the MOD and the policy will now recognise foster children as dependants.
JSP 464 Volume 1 Part 1 Chapter 3 Section 1 Para 0309 – Fostering will now state:
“All Service personnel (including personnel who are single) who are active foster carers are entitled to SFA or SFA above entitlement, where required, akin to personnel with natural or adopted children. Within the UK, approval as a foster carer and active (or forthcoming) fostering should be confirmed by means of a letter from the relevant Local Authority stipulating the geographical area (as this impacts on whether foster carer status carries over after being posted to a new location) and duration of approved foster carer status”.
If you’re considering fostering, read an Army family’s experience on the National Fostering Agency website. To find out more about fostering whilst in the Army, contact the NFA on 0845 200 4040, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more
AFF is aware that the housing policy doesn’t always help families trying to foster because a fostered child is required to have their own bedroom unless sharing with a sibling.
Current policy states that when a Service person has been approved for fostering they are then eligible for suitable SFA above entitlement where surplus SFA is available. This is not guaranteed and many fostering agencies need this information before the family are approved.
When applying for SFA above entitlement your soldier must provide authoritative evidence that they are approved for fostering. The decision on any allocation will be made by Local Service Commanders and DIO SD Accommodation staff who will advise on the availability and eligibility of surplus SFA. For more information read JSP 464 Chapter 3, 0309.
If you do accept an SFA above entitlement you may be required to vacate it if an entitled family require the accommodation. If this were the case, please contact Karen Ross at email@example.com
For further guidance on Adoption & Fostering, your soldier can access the Defence Instruction and Notification (DIN) 2008DIN01-189 Adoption and Fostering
- Adoption UK
- British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF)
- First4adoption or call 0300 222 0022
- SSAFA Adoption Agency or call the Adoption team on 020 7463 9326
- Core Assets
- The Foster Carers Association or call 0800 023 4561
- National Fostering Agency (NFA)
If you are having any issues or would like to give us feedback on your experiences with adoption or fostering, please contact Karen Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org.