£19 million Adoption Support Fund to be rolled out
18 November 2014 by Julia Brewer
Following successful pilots across 10 councils, the Adoption Support Fund will be rolled out in May of next year. The £19 million fund will be solely provided by government in the first year, with future years being funded jointly by local councils and government. The fund is part of the wider group of reforms that the government has introduced through the Children and Families Act.
The fund will pay for behavioural therapy, play and music therapy and support sessions to help children come to terms with adoption. It is hoped that this will give them greater confidence and help create stronger relationships with their new family.
Support provided by the fund can be used on services from both the private and voluntary sector, as well as councils and Child and Adult Mental Health Services (CAMHS). However, the fund will only be accessible after the court has made the adoption order.
Local authorities have a duty to provide adoption support to new parents and adopted children. However, some are struggling with current spending cuts. The introduction of this fund will hopefully afford adoptive families the support that may be lacking from their local authority.
Hugh Thornbery, CEO of Adoption UK and Chair of the Adoption Support Fund Expert Advisory Group, said:
‘Adoption UK welcomes the minister’s announcement of the rollout of the Adoption Support Fund from 1 May 2015.’
‘We are pleased that the government has risen to the challenge and we are now in a position where we better understand and can meet the challenges faced by adoptive families. Because of their early childhood experiences, many adopted children may have additional needs. The role adoptive parents play in re-parenting these vulnerable children is massively important.’
One concern that has been voiced, is that the fund will not be available in Wales. There is a worry that Welsh children may lose out with the introduction of this fund, a view shared by Phil Evans – of the Association of Directors of Social Services.
‘If there’s too great a difference between England and Wales, then we may lose potential adopters for Welsh children and we can’t allow that to happen. We need to understand why the offer in England seems to be better.’
Ministers have stated that the responsibility for providing further support for adoptive families in Wales falls on the new Welsh Agency, but no changes have been announced yet.
For more information about the adoption process, click here
For more information about Adoption UK, click here