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Single carer - thinking of adoption siblings with additional needs - no idea where to start with finance!

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Hi


I am currently working as a supply teacher and I am also a foster carer. I am have been considering adoption for a while but its the finances that put me off as I am single and a home owner. Currently enquiring about 3 & 5 yr old siblings. Both with go to special schools, have communication needs, some mobility issues, global delay and uncertainty regarding future development. Obviously the fostering would need to stop and the teaching would also need to stop initially. Currently the only benefit I get is 25% single persons council tax discount. The more websites I have looked at the more confused I have become. Is there anyone who has been in a similar situation and could tell me what finance is available please?


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We have just adopted our youngest fc who has v complex needs . We also have an 11 yr old fc in ltfc who has been with us for 10 yrs. Again he has v high level needs.

We were able to negotiate a good weekly rate to be paid until 2yr old turns 18. It is non means tested and written into the adop order so legally binding (we hope !). We have taken a drop in money so it is in their interests to pay the reduced amount in the long term because finding other adoptors is likely to be impossible.

So it is possible though they will tell you that it always has to be means tested and reviewed annually but that is not strictly true.

The key is to have the childs sw on board. They will need to push to get you a fair deal .

Hope that is helpful good luck x


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In terms of finance, you may get Adoption Allowance if they are siblings and have additional support needs. Benefits may include Income Support (when you are not working), Disability Living Allowance, Council Tax Reduction, Child and Working Tax Credits (Need to be working for WTC). Many do depend on whether you have any savings - under £6k is OK, then there is a sliding scale to £16k. Benefits are unlikely to come close to a teacher's salary and as you know, children are expensive.


Just wondering why you want to adopt these children - do you know them? Are you there foster carer now? Having been a foster carer, who was taken along by emotions to adopt siblings, be careful.....our journey has been horrendous and I think any situation where there are more kids than adults is very difficult to handle. Also 5 is classed as older leaving you with a high risk of disruption in the teenage years and there may also be a trauma bond between the siblings if they lived together in a harmful environment.


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Are you looking at giving up work completely? I'm a single adopter working school hours (TA) and get working tax credit and a small adoption allowance. Money is very tight (I don't get DLA). I am fortunate in that I bought my house when house prices were relatively low and so my mortgage is less than £500 per month. There is no housing benefit or equivalent for home owners.


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bear in mind that with children with additional needs you may never get back into paid employment. I have played at working from time to time over the last 20 years but the only job that I managed alongside my own childs needs has been fostering becoz its from home, but even then its been tricky. he had numerous health and developmental appointments, a high absence rate from school due to health issues and when I did try to get back into work (teaching) his behaviour deteriorated to the point that I could no longer justify working outside hte home, he was just too anxious and destructive. with two disabled children you get double the joy but also double the trouble. frankly i'm surprised if sw's are seriously looking at a single adopter who plans to return to work. I have two smalls at the moment, one has a disability and they are looking for two adopters and wont even consider singlies for them (I am single but wouldn't consider keeping them in the longer term, i'm on my knees most days by this time as it is!)


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Thank you all so much for taking the time to respond. The comments are really useful and have given me a lot to look into and think about.


Wizzzywoo - oo that's good to know, I had already been told that if there was any support available it would be means tested and probably only available for the first 12 months!


Bop - Thank you - didn't know about child tax credits and never thought of trying to get council tax reduction. Don't mind taking the salary hit so long as I/we can still get by, have just gone back to supply after nearly a year as a TA on half my salary as its what worked around kids. But yes they are expensive - did laugh at someone who said to me that special needs kids are cheaper as they don't need as much stuff! Really didn't quite know how to respond to that one politely Smile


No not currently fostering these particular children. This will probably sound a little insane but had spent most of the day thinking about adoption again and that night my friend who I hadn't even discussed it with sent me a link she had seen on the internet for these siblings - saying she had seen them and thought of me - turns out she hadn't read the full profile so didn't even realise they had additional needs. For the next few days I couldn't get them out of my head and just kept going back to their profile, cant explain it just feel there is something really pulling me to this particular sibling group - says me after laughing at a woman I watched on youtube saying she chose the children she adopted because god had told her too! Sibling are both performing at much younger than chronological ages so wondering if degree of future issues would still apply but again thank you, I will definitely research that further.


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Heavensent - sounds like we are in quite similar situations! Also lucky to have a low mortgage. Not looking to give up work completely but have read that its normally recommended for 6-12 months after adoption (though not sure how it would really have an effect if during the school day?) I would only do work that would fit around the kids so either supply teacher or id TA again so long as it paid enough to cover bills. How have you found working with an adopted child has it been ok or has it caused you any problems? Sucks being a home owner at times doesn't it Smile


Loads of bubs - From the knowledge I have so far it is highly unlikely that either of these children would work. Checked with SW about single parent and they are open to this as long as there is support available. Current foster carers have said they are very easy children (although I am aware that things can change and the trauma of a move wont help).


Again thank you to everyone who has offered advice x


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I think with most adopted children, issues tend to grow rather than diminish....I thought I would go back to work after adoption leave, albeit very part time, but it didn't work out and even DH has had to take a step down in his job. I am concerned about you thinking of taking two children when there is just one of you....these kids need huge amounts of input, often individually, and you will also need time for you, and that is really hard if there are more children than adults. What support network do yo have? Do you people who could take them for a day, weekend etc? Could they cope with challenging behaviours? Could the kids cope with being away from you?


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Hi, Im a single adopter with one child with ASD, a mild learning disabilty and a few bits and bobs. I work 22.5 hours a week currently over 3 days now he is in secondary school but whilst he was in primary it was four short days to fit with school hours.


In terms of finance I am very fortunate to get adoption allowance, it is means tested but unless I get another job on three times my salary this won't be an issue. He gets DLA. I earn too much for working tax credits but do get child tax credits which are enhanced if the child has DLA. tax credits are tested on your income, savings, and also the number of hours you work. My earned income covers the mortgage and bills, we live day to day off the adoption allowance - food, clothes, bus pass. I spend his DLA on activities for him, tennis and swimming lessons, scout camps. Child benefit just about keeps him in shoes! We do Ok, we have holidays, weekends away. However, I do not run a car. My office is 10 minutes walk so apart from his school bus pass, most weeks I have zero daily travel costs. I get a taxi a few times a month and have a rail card which saves me a fortune.


I do find working tough. I do a job which is below my capabilities, which I find fairly boring and tedious. But it pays well, has great terms and conditions and is generally very family friendly. I am also fortunate at the moment to have an exceptionally supportive manager, this was not true 18 months ago when i ended up signed off with stress due to combination of child and line manager.


Dont be deceived into thinking that because they would be in school this gives you days free to work. what about fitting in medical or therapy appointments, annual reviews etc for two children. I always seem to have a form to fill in, to renew benefits, for school meetings, for assessments. When do you get to the dentist, hairdressers, opticians ? I try to fit in all that stuff on the days I dont work but its not always possible. I do have flexitime and understanding managers but if I take a two hours out for an appointment it can take me a month to make that time up.

I am very fortunate, he is in a great school with a Senco and TAs who are well trained is ASD and attachement. They really do get it. I have very few issues in school. My son loves learning and is happy at schools. He also goes to scouts, again we have been exceptionally lucky with the volunteers who are very supportive and have overnight camps most school holidays. Both of these things are quite frankly a godsend. Many adopters struggle with school

For me the biggest issue is the weight of responsibility, I have great friends but the decision making is mine. I agonised for months about secondary school, I cried from sheer relief when I visited his now school and realised how perfect it was. Its emotionally draining and exhausting, I really couldnt cope if I worked full time. Don't underestimate the importance of me time.


A final thought. One day we will not be here. My son will achieve independence. What is the long term future for these children?


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Forgot to mention that if you are unable to work and the children get DLA which it sounds like they would, you could claim carers allowance


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Brinkleydaizy - I was teaching full time when I applied to adopt. The child I was matched with had major behavioural issues so I was given an adoption allowance and persuaded to cut down my hours. It was made clear that the AA was discretionary and means tested. It was expected that by now, seven years on, I would be looking at becoming full time again! I have found the stress in teaching added to the stress of dealing with difficult behaviour too much so made the decision to become a TA. It works for me, but the pay is pants! I would not cope with supply teaching and need the security of fixed hours because of childcare and tax credits. I am fortunate not to have medical appointments or a child who is off sick regularly as now I work all the hours she is at school in the same school!


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