Press release

New £19.3 million support fund for adoptive parents

The government announces new funding to support adoptive families.

Adoptive parents will benefit from new funding worth £19.3 million to access the best possible care for children who have often 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 lives.

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, said:

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 - from cognitive therapy to music and play therapy and attachment based therapy - 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.

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:

Eighty-one per cent of adoptive parents said their support needs were identified, yet only 56% were given the support they needed; and 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.

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 next step in our Supporting to Adopt reform package, which will ensure that adoptive parents and their children get the possible support every step of the way through the adoption process. This 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

Hugh Thornbery, Chief Executive, Adoption UK, 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. With the majority of children currently waiting in care for adoption coming from a traumatised background, this momentous development provides the foundation on which a successful adoption system can be built.

We know that this will be warmly welcomed by our members who have been instrumental in letting us know what is needed 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.

Notes to editor

  1. The Adoption Support Fund will act as an insurance based ‘risk pooling’ model, which will involve local authorities, central government and other organisations in contributing to the cost of supporting post and present adoptions. This will enable parents to access the fund to pay for specialist adoption support as and when it is required.
  2. We will shortly begin piloting the fund with a number of local authorities. 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.
  3. Information taken from a 2012 Adoption UK survey
  4. Research published by the Department for Education in April shows over 650,000 are ‘very likely’ or ‘certain’ to consider adopting imminently, yet many are held back by the experience of adopting itself and their ability to carry it out successfully.

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