Discover firsthand insights on adoption by foster carers in our exclusive podcast interviews featuring Isla, a foster carer turned adopter, and author Elaine Dibben. Joined by Jo Francis, CoramBAAF’s Publications Manager, they delve into both the personal and practical aspects of this journey.

Episode 18: Part one - ‘Adoption by foster carers’ - interview with Isla, foster carer and adopter

Isla is a foster carer for a local authority with previous professional experiences in education and safeguarding. Her family has been on a journey for the last three years in fostering and adoption. The journey has been significantly longer than that of most people who apply to adopt having made their initial intention known well over two years ago (in early 2022) they are still awaiting the final adoption order. Isla is, unsurprisingly, passionate about seeing the systems improve for all those involved in adoption.

Episode 18: Part two - ‘Adoption by foster carers’ - interview with author Elaine Dibben 

Elaine Dibben started her social work career in residential social work and qualified in 1988. She has over 30 years’ experience of working in adoption and fostering in local authority and voluntary adoption agency settings and is a strong advocate for the importance of securing permanence in family settings for children who cannot return to their parents’ care. She joined BAAF (now CoramBAAF)in 2004 to become manager of the Independent Review Mechanism, which she set up and ran until 2009, when she moved to take on a wider role in BAAF as a trainer/consultant, most recently as the Adoption Development Consultant for CoramBAAF until March 2021. Since April 2021, she has been working as an independent social work consultant, including chairing an RAA adoption panel and fostering panels. She is the author or co-author of a number of popular Good Practice Guides for CoramBAAF, including Adoption by Foster Carers,Fostering for Adoption and Undertaking an Adoption Assessment.


We have provided a transcript for this podcast episode to enhance accessibility and make the content available to a broader audience.

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Adoption by foster carers addresses several questions: Do children adopted by their foster carers experience more stable placements? What are the factors that facilitate adoption by foster carers and what are the barriers? How can foster carer adopters be supported? How should they be prepared and assessed? And what about the “matching” process – to what extent does it apply if the child is already living with the carers?

Adoption by foster carers makes a powerful case for considering foster carers adopting children in their care as a resource that can offer stability and permanence, supported by research evidence and the experiences of agencies, practitioners and carer adopters.