Highland fee for overseas adoption could drop

A fee charged to process the adoption of children from abroad by people living in the Highlands could reduce.

Highland Council charges £3,000 for inter-country adoption but the Scottish government has proposed a flat rate of £1,775.

Local authority officers have recommended that councillors support the new, means-tested fee.

Highland said it currently has three sets of approved prospective adopters accepted to take children from China.

In a report to councillors, officers said the prospective parents face a waiting time of about five years for children.

The local authority receives an average of five inquiries a year from people wishing to adopt children from overseas.

Highland Council started charging inter-country adoption applicants in 2000 and a fee of £2,000 was set.

This rose to £3,000 in 2007.

Under the Scottish government plans, couples with an income of £45,001 and above would be charged £1,775.

Those on £25,001 to £45,000 would be asked for 50% of the full fee and couples with an income of up to £25,000 would not be charged.

In its response to the proposals, Highland officers thanked government officials for their assistance in dealing with the complex adoption process.