Staff who give children a loving home will get the same cash support as birth parents under a scheme unveiled by Surrey County Council.
The authority has put adoption and maternity pay on an equal footing to help female employees taking responsibility for caring for children who cannot stay with their own family.
Surrey’s scheme comes after Prime Minister David Cameron vowed to tackle the barriers to adoption.
At the moment, biological mothers across the country receive more money for the first six weeks of maternity leave than adoptive mothers.
Currently, an employee entitled to maternity leave pay receives 90% of her normal weekly earnings for six weeks before getting a lower statutory rate for another 33.
Under Surrey’s scheme, women who adopt will also get 90% of their usual weekly pay for those six weeks instead of the lower statutory rate.
For example, someone earning £250 a week who adopts a child will receive weekly pay of £225 in that period instead of the previous £135.
Mary Angell, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “These children have had a difficult start in life and it takes the love and support of dedicated people to give them a better future.
“Birth mothers expect to take time off to bond with their children and those who adopt should be able to do the same without losing out financially.
“Our scheme allows them to do that as well as encouraging other people to think about making space in their life and home for a child who really needs security and stability.”
In the past year, the council has placed nearly 40 children with new families and is calling for more adopters to come forward – particularly to look after siblings and children with health or emotional problems.