Advice and FAQs
AFKA Scotland provides an advice service to our members, accessible by telephone and email. Upon receiving your enquiry, our multidisciplinary team will collaborate to provide timely, authoritative, evidence-informed and current information and advice. Our advice service includes:
- Scotland-specific advice on legal, health and child placement dilemmas, including enquiries relating to adoption, fostering, kinship care, and cross-border/inter-country adoptions;
- Access to research expertise through AFKA Scotland’s research team; and
- A dedicated day every week (currently every Friday) where the AFKA Scotland legal consultant is available to practitioners for advice and information;
- An FAQ section (see below) where you can find guidance on questions we have received in the past.
This section is currently growing and we invite members to please continue sending us your enquiries and we will respond with bespoke advice.
A standard interagency fee charged when adopters approved by one Adoption Agency are matched with a child in the care of another in Scotland was established in 2016. The interagency fee covers the costs of recruiting and assessing prospective adopters, matching, placement and supervision and support up to the point of the adoption order.
Interagency fees: additional guidance
Use of a standard interagency fee means that agencies can be confident that they can cover the costs of recruiting prospective adopters and continue to invest in this process even if the adopters are subsequently matched with children from outwith their local area. As well as ensuring the best interests of the child are at the forefront of any matching decision, this helps to maximise opportunities for children from across Scotland who require adoptive placements.
Level of fees
Fee levels will be uprated on 1 April each year based on the Consumer price inflation including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) measure of inflation for the preceding calendar year as published by the Office for National Statistics. Information on the new fees will be circulated by the Scottish Government and will be made available on the Scotland’s Adoption Register website.
The fee is paid as a single payment at the point of placement.
Components of the fee
Although charged as a single payment, the fee is made up of three equal components. The first third covers recruitment and assessment, the second third covers linking, matching and introductions and the final third is to provide support from placement until the granting of the adoption order – on the assumption that this will happen within 12 months of placement.
Placements that disrupt within the first 12 months
If the placement disrupts within the first 12 months, the agency for the adopter will repay a proportion of the final third of the interagency fee. The amount of the repayment will be determined by the date the child leaves the placement and will be calculated on a pro rata basis. If, for example, the placement disrupts after 4 months, the repayment will be 8/12ths of the final third of the fee.
Placements where the Adoption Order is not granted with 12 months
If the Adoption Order is not granted within 12 months, the adopters’ agency will continue to support the placement on a fostering basis and will invoice the placing agency monthly at a rate of one 12th of the final third of the fee until the Adoption Order is granted (referred to as ongoing support in the following table).
In acknowledgment of year-on-year increases in staff costs, the fee levels will be uprated on 1 April each year based on the Consumer price inflation including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) measure of inflation for the preceding calendar year as published by the Office for National Statistics. On 19 January 2022, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) level for January-December 2021, which was 4.8%.
For the latest update on these costs, see Interagency Fees Scotland – Scotland’s Adoption Register.
Each Order bestows Parental Rights and Responsibilities (PRRs) for a child on an adult who had not held these. They are both private law Orders under the Children (Scotland) Act 1995. Any decision by a Court will be based on three broad principles, namely:
(i) The child’s welfare is paramount;
(ii) No Order will be made unless it is better for the child for such an Order to be put in place;
(iii) Have regard to the views of the child, taking account of their age and maturity as far as is practicable. The child must be given an opportunity to indicate whether they wish to express them and given an opportunity to do so.
Kinship Care Order
A person can apply to acquire some or all PRRs under Section 11 of the Act. Not every Order under S 11 is automatically a Kinship Care Order. The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 S.72(2) defines who is a Kinship Carer as a person who, when the Order was made, was related to the child or had some relationship or connection with the child.
It may be that the Court, in granting some PRRs to the Kinship Carer will deprive another person with PRRs of some of their rights and responsibilities. For example, where a grandparent wants their grandchild to live with them but the child’s father does not, this then the Court can grant to the grandparents the right of determining the child’s residence. This deprives the father of this fundamental right that he would normally have.
Under Section 7 of the Act, where a parent dies they can “bequeath” to another adult any PRRs they held at the time of their death. Their intentions will have been set out in their Will or a signed specific agreement. There is no need for the Guardian to apply to the Court for these PRRs but the appointment will not take effect until accepted, either expressly or by that person acting in a way which demonstrates their intention to assume the role of Guardian. Someone may also apply to the Court to become a Guardian.
Where another parent or (anyone else with PRRs) to the child is still alive, their rights will not be altered by the appointment of a Guardian. This means that it is up to all parents and guardians to agree what is best for a child; where this cannot be done, the Court may make a decision about this. Under Section 11 of the 1995 Act, the Court can specify which parental responsibilities are imposed and which parental rights are conferred on the guardian.
Once a person becomes a Guardian under Section 7, this will continue until:
(i) the death of the child or Guardian;
(ii) the child is 18 years of age;
(iii) a Court terminates the Order under S.11 of this Act.
The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 specifically recognises the role of legal Guardians who care for children and the potential requirement of kinship care assistance for Guardians and those eligible children in their care.
The 2014 Act provides that a person who has been appointed as a Guardian under Section 7 of the 1995 Act in relation to an eligible child is to qualify for kinship care assistance. Kinship care assistance is also to be made available to the eligible child who has a Guardian.