The Army recognises that many families are both willing and well suited to the adoption and fostering of children. It may seem that Army life might make the process difficult but many couples have adopted or fostered successfully.
Adoption and fostering are different, and there are statutory requirements which must be met. Adoption is a legal process by which all parental rights and responsibilities are permanently transferred to the adoptive parents by a court, and the child legally becomes part of the adoptive family.
Fostering can either be a private arrangement to look after a child for more than 28 days in a row, but more commonly relates to local authority (LA) fostering which could be anything from overnight, to a few days to years or an entire childhood, with the child legally belonging to the local authority and/or their birth parents.
When a child is legally adopted, the MOD will formally recognise that child as a dependant. If you are in SFA, your entitlement may change. Single Service personnel who are pursuing adoption will require suitable accommodation before the adoption finally takes place, including for the trial placement period, which can be SFA. LA fosterers will be allocated SFA above entitlement.
Qualifying personnel are entitled to take up to 52 weeks’ adoption leave and, subject to meeting the qualifying criteria, may be eligible for 39 weeks’ statutory pay, the first 26 of which may be enhanced to the Service person’s full rate of pay.
Once a child is legally adopted, all applicable allowances and entitlements for dependent children will apply.
Army families may use any adoption service in the UK, but the SSAFA adoption service can provide an informed understanding of the unusual nature of Army life. As a national agency, SSAFA can continue to support their applicants through postings, so they do not have to start the process again in their new location. As a registered voluntary adoption agency, the SSAFA adoption service is separate from the MOD and has the same status as any other voluntary adoption agency.