Adoption & Fostering

Contents

01   Adoption

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.

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.

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02   Adoption leave

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.

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 additionalneeds@aff.org.uk.

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03   Statutory Adoption Pay

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).

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04   Housing entitlements

You will be entitled to occupy Service Family 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 your 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, Vol 1, Pt1, Chapter 3, 0310 details this entitlement.

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05   Fostering

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.

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 now recognises foster children as dependants.

JSP 464, Vol 1, Pt 1, Chapter 3, Section 1, Para 0309 states:

‘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’.

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06   Links and further information

The Adoption and Fostering policy information for Service families can be found in the Adoption and Fostering DIN reference 2008DIN01-189 and this is currently being updated.

This DIN can be accessed via the Defence Intranet.

Adoption:

Fostering:

Contact AFF

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 additionalneeds@aff.org.uk.

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