Frequently Asked Questions about Fostering to Open Adoption
Frequently Asked Questions
If you are new to the idea of open adoption, it is important to equip yourself with all the facts before getting involved.
1. What children and young people are considered for Fostering to Open Adoption?
All children and young people of different ages require stable, loving, nurturing and permanent homes. In NSW, the permanency principals outline that restoration to family and kinship care are to be considered prior to open adoption, guardianship and permanent foster care. Any child who is not able to be restored to their parents or cared for by their relatives/significant others will be considered for open adoption. Open adoption will only proceed if it is determined to be in the child’s best interest now and later in life. Open adoption can never be guaranteed.
2. Can I have a preference for the age of a child or young person?
Yes, you can have a preference. Applicants who are open to considering children from all ages will be matched quicker than an applicants who have a limited preference on the age child they are willing to provide care, for example, 0-5 years age.
The majority of enquiries received for dual authorisation are for children under 5 years of age, and we encourage all applicants to consider if they can care for children over 5 years of age. In New South Wales there is currently a shortage of carers and PAPs particularly for older children, children who have high and complex needs and sibling groups of 3 or more children.
Remember prospective adoptive parents must be:
- Over 25 years of age
- Be at least 18 years older than the child they would like to adopt.
- Be aged 45 years or younger to adopt a child of any age (including ages 0 – 5)
- Be aged 50 or younger to adopt a child who is 5 years or older
- Be aged 55 or younger to adopt a child who is 10 years or older.
3. Can I have a preference in matching a child or young person to our family?
Key Assets encourage all applicants to be open and transparent in the type of child or young person they can care for. All children and young people in foster care come from a diverse background including, ethnicity, gender, religions, sexuality and require carers who can support them to maintain their identity.
Suitable applicants will demonstrate the capacity and commitment to care for all children and young people. Applicants with specific placement preferences will need to demonstrate how they will meet this essential criterial.
4. Will children in foster care have difficult behaviours?
All children have difficult behaviours at times. Children and young people in care have experienced varying levels of trauma which will impact on their brain development, such as neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse and emotional abuse. This can affect their emotional wellbeing, behaviours and their health. Due to the impact of trauma prospective adoptive parents will need to demonstrate the capacity to provide a nurturing, healing, stable and permanent home from adoption into adult hood. Prospective adoptive parents will also need to participate and engage in external services such as, counselling and therapy.
5. What does supervising and co-ordinating family time mean?
Time with family is important for all children as it helps them to stay connected to their family and form their identity which can help with their development. Children in permanent care such as guardianship and open adoption will all have ongoing regular contact with their family members, including parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings and other significant people in their life. All carers are required to demonstrate a commitment to children and young people having visits, where deemed to be safe and appropriate. As prospective adoptive parents you will be involved in family visits and will be required to develop the skills to supervise children seeing family including, grandparents, siblings, parents, cousins etc.
6. How can I demonstrate openness when caring for a child?
As prospective adoptive parents it’s important to be open in your attitudes and actions when caring for a child. Ways you can do this to support the child in your care are:
- Talking about the child and young person’s family openly and positively on a regular basis
- Sharing information with extended family via letters, emails or video calls
- Encourage the child to develop their identity by being open to the child’s views on who they are
- Willingness to support, connect and explore the child’s culture, religion, and beliefs
7. Is an adoption order guaranteed?
No, we can never guarantee an adoption order will be granted. This can be challenging for many families to accept.
The Judge at The Supreme Court New South Wales will make the decision if an adoption order is granted. Key Assets work closely with The Department of Communities and Justice to put forward a recommendation of the proposed adoption.
8. What are the permanency principles?
Children and Young Persons Care and Protection Act 2001 supports children where safe to do so to remain in the care of their parents. Children living at home with their family is the best possible option for any child or young person, where it is deemed safe and appropriate. Where that is not possible agencies have to explore other permanency options including, kinship placements meaning extended family members who are suitable to care for the child, guardianship, open adoption and long-term care.