Child Benefit if you adopt or foster a child

You may be able to get Child Benefit if you live in the UK and you're adopting or fostering a child. If you get payments towards the cost of the child's accommodation or basic maintenance from your local authority, you won't normally be able to get Child Benefit.

On this page:

You're going to adopt a child

If you're in the process of adopting a child, it is important to apply for Child Benefit as soon as the child comes to live with you. You don't need to wait until the adoption process is complete, and in some circumstances you may be entitled to claim Child Benefit for a period before the adoption. The nationality of the child does not affect whether you're entitled to Child Benefit or not.


You're a foster parent

If you're fostering a child, you may be able to qualify for Child Benefit as long as your local authority (or Health and Social Services Board in Northern Ireland) isn’t paying anything to help with the child’s accommodation or maintenance.

If you’re not sure whether you should claim, get in touch with the Child Benefit Office. You can do this online by using the link below, or by calling the Child Benefit Helpline.

Send your query online about fostering and Child Benefit

Contact details for the Child Benefit Helpline (opens new window)


You're looking after a child for a friend or relative

If you have an informal arrangement to foster someone else's child, you may be able to get Child Benefit. But if your local authority is paying towards the child's accommodation or maintenance you might not qualify - check with the Child Benefit Helpline to find out.

Contact details for the Child Benefit Helpline

If you want to make a claim, you need to agree with the person who is currently getting Child Benefit (for example, the parent) that you can make a claim instead. Bear in mind that two people cannot receive Child Benefit for the same child.
If you're responsible for a child who has lost one or both of their parents, you may also be entitled to Guardian's Allowance.

What happens if there's more than one claim for Child Benefit for the same child

Find out about Guardian's Allowance


More useful links

How to claim Child Benefit

You have children - can you get tax credits for them?