Press release: Could you be an early permanence carer?

Tuesday 19 April 2022

Could you be an early permanence carer?


Adoption Tees Valley (ATV), which finds adopters on behalf of the five Tees Valley local authorities, are looking for more carers who can look after children under an early permanence placement.


Early permanence placements are where children, often young babies are placed in foster care, with carers who are approved as both foster carers and adopters,  and can work with uncertainty around the child’s future plan, while assessments are being undertaken. Early permanence carers will foster the child initially but will go on to adopt them later if the courts decide they cannot be cared for permanently by their birth family.


The benefit of early permanence placements is that they minimise disruption to children's lives and give them a chance to bond earlier with people who may go on to adopt them.


Vicky Davidson Boyd, Service Manager for Adoption Tees Valley, said “Children who are in the care system can experience a number of moves from birth family to care and also within foster care while the courts reach a decision about who will care for them in the long term. Traditional adoptions mean the child is only placed with the adoptive parents, from foster care, after the Courts determine that adoption is the legally agreed plan for the child, and this can take several months.


Research has shown that this level of disruption has a negative impact on a child's mental health and development. Early Permanence placements are child centred, they reduce the need for moves in care and give children stability at a time when development is crucial.”


Potential Early Permanence carers will need to work within the parameters of a foster placement whilst the courts decide a child’s plan, this could include maintaining contact arrangements with birth family. Full training is provided for carers by Adoption Tees Valley before any children are placed and carers receive a fostering allowance during the fostering period.


“We realise the uncertainty that comes with early permanence means this type of placement isn’t suited to everyone, but we also hear from our adopters that it is a fulfilling and rewarding journey for them knowing that they are able to put a child’s needs first and give them a positive start in life” Vicky says.


In the last year there were 13 early permanence placements made for children in the Teesside area, adopters Pete and Chris adopted their son Matthew and then went on to adopt their daughter and Matthews biological sister Amber, who came to them through an early permanence arrangement. The couple said the experience had brought so much joy to their lives.


Pete reflects on their experience of early permanence.


“When our adoptive son was five, we received a phone call - he had a biological sister on the way. We were asked if we would consider caring for her on a ‘fostering for adoption’ basis, and we didn’t have to think twice about our response. The opportunity to keep brother and sister together - even if just in those formative first stages - with the potential for early permanence was a no-brainer for us.


We did of course have to be realistic and continually bear in mind the different potential outcomes; there was no guarantee that this would be anything more than a foster placement, and the little girl could be returned to her birth family if that was judged to be in her best interests. But even so, giving her that best possible start to life and allowing brother and sister the proper opportunity to know each other was something we were resolute to provide.” Said Pete. 

Adoption Tees Valley are committed to providing early permanence and have been awarded The Early Permanence Quality Mark, this is the standard of excellence awarded to adoption agencies that demonstrate the quality of their service and commitment to delivering early permanence for children where adoption is in their best interest. 

If you would like to find out more about early permanence, request a call back below.