New £19.3 million Adoption Support Fund Boost for Adopters and Children11 September 2013
First4Adoption has welcomed today’s announcement of a new £19.3 million Adoption Support Fund by the government. Adoptive parents will benefit from new funding worth £19.3 million to access the best possible care for children who may have been victims of abuse and neglect.
The Adoption Support Fund will pay for therapeutic services – such as cognitive therapy, play and music therapy, and intensive family support – helping children recover from their previous experiences, bond with their adoptive families and settle into their new life.
The Prime Minister said: “The new Adoption Support Fund will be a lifeline for many adoptive families, helping them to access specialist services when their family needs them most. I also hope it will reassure parents thinking about embarking on the hugely rewarding journey of adoption that if challenges do arise, they will no longer be left alone to cope.”
Announcing the trial scheme at the Children and Young People conference, Edward Timpson, Minister for Children and Families, will say: “We know that children adopted from care have often lived through terrible experiences which do not just simply disappear once they have settled with their new families.
“The Adoption Support Fund will provide adoptive families with the right support … to ensure that these children have a stable and fulfilling childhood – a fundamental right for every child, no matter what their starting point in life.”
Gemma Gordon-Johnston, Head of Service at First4Adoption, said: “First4Adoption welcomes the announcement of the Adoption Support Fund as a boost for adopters. Not all adoptive families will need to access post-adoption support of this kind, but the fund will help give those adopters and their children who do need it, support when they most need it the most.”
She added: “First4Adoption will provide information about how to access post adoption support and advice as it becomes available.”
Carol Homden, Chief Executive of children’s charity Coram, part of the consortium of charities which runs First4Adoption, said: “The visible availability of post adoption support is a crucial ingredient in encouraging prospective adopters to come forward, and we hope they take heart from this. This demonstrates the sincerity of the adoption reform programme across the sector.”
Hugh Thornbery, Chief Executive, Adoption UK, also part of the consortium of charities that run First4Adoption described today’s announcement as “momentous” and said: “We believe that the Government’s commitment to providing funding for adoption support has the potential to be the most influential advance so far in improving today’s adoption system…and we anticipate that it will be hugely valuable in recruiting more adopters for all those children still waiting to be placed with the right family.”
Local authorities have a legal duty to assess the type of support new parents will need to help their adopted child yet recent research conducted by Adoption UK shows many parents remain unaware of their rights and entitlements:
- 81% of adoptive parents said their support needs were identified, yet only 56% were given the support they needed
- over half of the adoptive parents surveyed needed therapeutic services, but only 28% of adoptive parents reported that their adoption agency provided this.
Following the trial – which will commence shortly – the Adoption Support Fund will be rolled out nationally in 2015, giving providers the confidence to expand and offering adoptive families much greater choice and access to the therapeutic services they need.
A Department for Education spokesperson added: “The fund will represent a new approach to how adoption support is delivered. Over time we want to see local authorities, adoption agencies and other organisations contributing to the fund, ensuring that long term provision of adoption support becomes self-sustaining.”
Today’s announcement is the latest step in the government’s ‘Supporting to Adopt’ reform package, which includes:
- publishing an Adoption Passport informing adoptive parents about what support they can expect and when
- giving adoptive parents the same rights to pay and leave as birth parents
- piloting personal budgets giving parents control over the adoption support they access for their adoptive children.
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