East Lothian Council

Adoption and permanent care

Have you got what it takes to care?

All children have the right to be brought up in the safety and security of a loving family.

Children's Services works hard to keep families together, but sometimes children need to be placed with foster carers. This can be for a wide range of reasons, including:

  • family breakdown
  • parenting problems
  • parental ill health
Most children return to their families, but a few need to find families who can adopt them or offer them permanent foster care.

What is the difference between adoption and permanent foster care?

Adoption means you become the legal parent to a child or children, and it is a lifetime commitment. Most children under school age need the security adoption offers.

For some older children adoption may not be possible, but they also need a committed foster family who will care for them throughout their childhood and beyond. This is where permanent foster care comes in.

Who can adopt or offer permanent care?

People who can adopt or offer permanent care can be:

  • single, married, in a civil partnership, living together in a long-term stable relationship or divorced
  • tenants or homeowners
  • employed or unemployed
  • from different ethnic backgrounds

No particular qualification is required to be an adoptive parent or permanent foster carer, but you will need to value and have an understanding of children as well as the time, patience and energy to support the child.

Many people who offer permanent care are already working for us as foster carers. Quite a few foster carers also become adoptive parents, although not all adoptive parents have previously been foster carers.

For further information, please see our Caring for other people's children pack, which you will find in the Downloads section at the bottom of this page. It includes full information on what is involved in becoming a permanent carer or adoptive parent (e.g. background checks we carry out, the support we can offer you).

What will the children be like?

Children who are waiting to be adopted will already be looked after and accommodated by East Lothian Council.

Becoming an adoptive parent or a permanent foster carer is an extremely rewarding experience. However, it is important to recognize that, regardless of their age, these children will probably be experiencing powerful feelings about being separated from their families and their current foster carers, and this may result in challenging behaviour.

Children may also have:

  • a disability or specific learning needs
  • a history of family problems that may affect their physical and emotional development and behaviour

As such, it is vital that you can provide the understanding and support they need as their adoptive parent.

Where possible, we try to place siblings together in the same family. If this is not possible we promote contact between them.

Some children may have also ongoing contact with some family members.

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Telephone: 01620 827643

East Lothian Council, John Muir House Brewery Park Haddington East Lothian EH41 3HA.