Adopters will gain the same leave and pay entitlements as parents having birth children and become entitled to more flexible working arrangements.
A summary of changes to the Act follows:
- from April 2015, mothers, fathers and adopters can opt to share parental leave around their child’s birth or placement. This gives families more choice over taking leave in the first year – dads and mothers’ partners can take up to a year, or parents can take several months at the same time
- adoption leave and pay will reflect entitlements available to birth parents from April 2015 – no qualifying period for leave; enhanced pay to 90% of salary for the first 6 weeks; and time off to attend introductory appointments. Intended parents in surrogacy and ‘foster to adopt’ arrangements will also qualify for adoption leave and pay. This will include concurrent planning placements, which will offer those carers very welcome support.
- extending the right to request flexible working to all employees from 30 June 2014
- replacing the current statutory procedure, through which employers consider flexible working requests, with a duty on employers to consider with requests in a ‘reasonable’ manner
New legal provisions also include allowing approved adopters to search the Adoption Register of children waiting to be adopted. This proposal will be piloted before decisions are taken about full implementation.
Jeanne Kaniuk, Head of Adoption at Coram: “We are pleased that adopters will have equal entitlements to leave and pay when their children come to live with them and more flexibility in their work/care arrangements.
“Adoption is a completely new chapter in a child’s life and the more support their parents receive in all senses of the word, the better able to help them to settle and thrive in their new family.
“Coram offers ongoing support to families adopting with us through structured classes and programmes, advice over the phone and through informal social events.
“We have bases in central and South London, East Anglia and the East Midlands and will very shortly be opening a new office in North London. There is a huge need for more adopters to come forward and Coram helps those adopting with us through every stage of the journey. Adoption is truly life-changing and we encourage people of all backgrounds and ages to contact us.”
People not living in these areas or with general questions about the adoption process can contact First4Adoption, a dedicated information service for people interested in adopting a child in England, on 0300 222 0022.
To read more about the Children and Families Act, click here.