Government launches new scheme to ‘dramatically’ improve post-adoption support

New Adoption Support Fund will be piloted in 10 local authority areas from today before being rolled out nationally

Children's minister Edward Timpson
Children's minister Edward Timpson. Photo: Steve Back/Rex Features

The government has announced the formal launch of its new support fund for adopted children and their families.

From today, the Adoption Support Fund – intended to give families better access to vital support services, including therapy – will be piloted by 10 councils across England with £2m government funding. A further £19.3m will be provided to roll out the fund nationally.

Children’s minister Edward Timpson said this would “dramatically improve post-adoption support to families across the country”.

Authorities piloting the scheme include Manchester, Newcastle, Solihull, Hampshire, East Sussex and Cornwall.

“We want all adoptive families to know help is there for them and their new child every step of the way. The Adoption Support Fund will help ensure the families in most need are able to access crucial services when they need them,” Timpson said.

Over time, councils, adoption agencies and other organisations will add money to the pot, he added.

The move follows years of campaigning by charities, peers and adoptive families who warned many adoptions were at risk of breaking down due to a postcode lottery in adoption support services, such as family therapy and child mental health services.

Dr Carol Homden CBE, chief executive of the children’s charity Coram, said: “Coram has long recognised how important access to support, such as therapeutic parenting courses and art and music therapy, is in helping adoptive families develop secure and loving attachments and thrive.

“As the Fund is rolled out we look forward to ways of involving Coram’s expertise so that post-adoption support is not only more available and accessible to families, it is also well-evidenced and consistent throughout the country.”

John Simmonds, director of policy and practice at the British Association of Adoption and Fostering, said the support fund was a “welcome step towards improving the lives of adoptive children and their families”.

“BAAF has been working with social workers and a range of other experts to identify how local authorities respond to requests for help and support from adoptive families,” he said. “This work has emphasised how important that first response is – how much adoptive families need to feel listened to, not to feel that they will be blamed, to know they can talk about their experiences in detail and to feel confident that the social worker they are talking to is adoption informed.”

He added: “Adopter and child-centered assessment is a vital part of the implementation of the fund. This framework will continue to be developed in the course of the pilots to ensure it is ready and fit for purpose when the fund is rolled out nationally.”

The new fund is part of a wider package of reforms introduced through the Children and Families Act, including a faster approval process so most adopters are approved within six months, and new rules so prospective adopters and children are placed on the adoption register within three months.

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One Response to Government launches new scheme to ‘dramatically’ improve post-adoption support

  1. June Jellies June 26, 2014 at 10:45 am #

    Too little far too late for many families that have struggled for so long. In fact, by the time this is rolled out nationally, those of us with teenagers won’t be able to access it anyway !
    The press release for the DfE makes it sound like this is here for newly established adoptive families, my understanding is that is for any adopted child under 18.
    Coram advertised `free therapy` for adopted children (presumably in the pilot areas) but have failed to answer a question I put to them about whether this therapy will be WITH adoptive parents – to have an insecurely attached adopted child have creative therapy without an adoptive parent with them will not enhance attachment.
    I now wonder if the DfE (and everyone else in the adoption world) will now be prepared to discuss the 25% of adoptions in England where parents are parenting very challenging children as highlighted by the `Beyond the adoption order `research published in April. So many of our children have been let down by education/Camhs/Social services. Our children and young people and we, the adoptive parents who have had to fight battles to get our children and young peoples needs recognised and services provided and those families where young people have returned to the care system due to the failings of statutory services should now have an apology from Mr Gove. Unlikely but it would go some way in recognising that even now – our young people will miss the theraputic boat as many will be 18 before any assessment will be thought about, let alone carried out.