Can I adopt or foster a baby?
Adopting or fostering a baby in the UK
The Be My Parent newspaper and website features children of all ages and backgrounds, from babies to teenagers - all looking for a family to adopt or foster them.
These days, there are very few babies who have been relinquished for adoption by their birth parents.
However, there is an increasing number of babies who have been removed from their families at a very young age or at birth due to concerns about neglect or drug or alcohol misuse. Their future development and long-term needs may be uncertain, perhaps because of the possible effects of drug or alcohol misuse during pregnancy, or a hereditary health condition. Babies who do need families may also be placed with their older brothers and sisters.
Generally short-term foster carers care for babies when they first become looked after, but this is only on a temporary basis before they go on to join an adoptive family.
In England, ‘Fostering for adoption’ and concurrent planning are gaining popularity. Such schemes allow children to be placed as early as possible with a family whilst plans and court processes are underway so a child, possibly a baby, on coming into foster care is placed initially with foster carers who are also approved as adopters, or adopters who have been assessed as suitable and interested in ‘fostering for adoption’ specifically. The practice of dual approval has been developed in Northern Ireland to enable children to be placed as early as possible with their permanent family.
Read the ‘Fostering for adoption’ guidance
Permanent foster carers are generally only considered for older children or perhaps those with special needs or disabilities - but, even then, adoption will sometimes be the first choice.
Older children, especially boys over the age of five, groups of brothers and sisters, children who are disabled or have complex care needs, developmental uncertainty and delay and children from a black and minority ethnic background, often wait the longest for a family.
These children urgently need adoptive and permanent foster families to care for them.
For more information, see some of our features on adopting and fostering different types of children.
Last updated: 23 August 13