Nearly two thirds of adopters were never told they had a legal right to request an assessment of their post-adoption support needs, according to research by Adoption UK.
The charity surveyed 455 adopters and found too many adoptive families are struggling to access support to help them raise their vulnerable and often traumatised children.
Although 61% of adopters said they wanted access to therapeutic services to help them deal with the demands of adoptive parenthood, only 28% of adoption organisations provided this.
Nearly two thirds (64%) were not even informed by their adoption agency of their legal right to request an assessment of support.
Just 7% of adoption agencies provided respite support, despite three out of ten adopters saying this service would help them to better support their children.
“What adopters are saying they need is a process and system that better equips them for the joys and challenges of adoptive parenting,” said Jonathan Pearce, outgoing chief of Adoption UK.
The charity’s It takes a village to raise a child report is now calling for adoptive families to have better access to education and training on child development and how trauma and abuse affects children.
This should focus on therapeutic support adopters can offer children, covering issues like attachment theory.
“Adopters also need joined-up, adoption-aware services across not just the social care sector, but also in education and mental health,” Pearce added.
When considering that they are taking on some of the most vulnerable children in our society, it seems senseless that they are not automatically supported.”
Other recommendations are for adopted children to have the same status as looked-after children in relation to school support and a national adoption recruitment agency.
Why post-adoption support is like the holy grail