Over £2 million of new funding is being made available today to help adopted children settle into their new families by accessing crucial support services.
Ten councils across the country will use the new money to test drive the new Adoption Support Fund, giving families better access to essential therapy services as and when they need it. It will ensure children can benefit fully from being part of a family, develop a rich social life, a good education and a bright future.
Some adopted children will have suffered from severe cases of neglect and abuse and experience a range of difficulties as a direct result. They may have behavioural issues, eating disorders, several mental health needs, trust and attachment issues, substance abuse issues, and sadly in some cases, attempted suicide.
Vital services such as behavioural therapy, play and music therapy and family support sessions can help children come to terms with their issues, bond with their family and settle into their new lives. The sessions allow children to express some of their difficult emotions and help them manage their own anger and anxieties - giving them the confidence to build strong relationships with their new families.
Edward Timpson, Minister for Children and Families, who grew up with 2 adopted brothers, said:
I know from my own personal experience that some children adopted from care will have been through terrible ordeals which do not just simply disappear once they have settled with their new families.
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.
Following the £2 million pilot, a further £19.3 million will be provided next year to roll out the Adoption Support Fund nationally, aiming to dramatically improve post-adoption support to families across the country. Over time, councils, adoption agencies and other organisations will add money to the pot to provide a constant flow of support services.
Dr Carol Homden CBE, Chief Executive of children’s charity Coram, said:
We welcome the Adoption Support Fund and the government’s commitment to enabling greater numbers of adoptive families to have their support needs met.
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.
The Adoption Support Fund is part of a wider package of reforms introduced by the government through the Children and Families Act, including a faster approval process so the majority of people are approved within 6 months and new rules so prospective adopters and children are placed on the adoption register within 3 months.
We have extended entitlements so that children in care straight through to adoption have access to priority school admissions, the pupil premium, and, from September 2014, eligibility for free early education for 2-year-olds.
The Adoption Passport has been published, setting out the rights and entitlements of adoptive parents, along with new online maps, which allow potential adopters to find out more information about services in their area.
We have also set up First4Adoption, a dedicated information service for people interested in adopting a child in England.
Notes to editors
- The 10 local authorities are: Newcastle, North Yorkshire, Manchester, Leicester City, Solihull, Gloucestershire, Cornwall, East Sussex, Hampshire and Lewisham.
- This trial phase will consider how best to design the fund, including how to ensure that the fund is accessible to adopters and how to best incentivise local authorities to invest in the fund.
- Research conducted by Adoption UK in 2012 showed that many parents remained unaware of their rights and entitlements to support - 81% of adoptive parents said their needs were identified, yet only 56% were given the support they needed.
View the Adoption Support Fund announcement (September 2013).
- Information about First4Adoption can be found at www.first4adoption.org.uk/0300 222 0022.
Find out more about the Children and Families Act.
- Case study family available upon request.