Guidance

Adoption support fund (ASF)

Local authorities (LAs) and regional adoption agencies (RAAs) can apply for therapeutic funding for eligible adoptive and special guardianship order families.

The adoption support fund

The adoption support fund (ASF) provides funds to local authorities (LAs) and regional adoption agencies (RAAs) to pay for essential therapeutic services for eligible adoptive and special guardianship order (SGO) families.

The ASF model is based on the existing statutory framework for the assessment of adoption support/SGO needs and the provision of support services.

This guide is for LAs and RAAs so they can apply for ASF funding.

For more information on support available to families, please visit:

Apply to the adoption support fund

Start now

The ASF has contacted all LAs and RAAs in England and registered them for the application portal.

Contact the ASF fund manager or your adoption support service advisor (ASSA) if you:

  • need a new account
  • need to register someone new on the system
  • want to inform the ASF of any new staff or other changes

Funding eligibility

To be eligible for funding, LAs and RAAs must apply to the ASF within 3 months of assessing a family’s support needs.

The ASF is available for children up to and including the age of 21, or 25 with an education, health and care (EHC) plan, who have been:

  • adopted from local authority care in England
  • adopted from Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland but live in England
  • adopted from abroad (once the placement has been made and the child is in England)
  • a looked-after child (LAC) immediately prior to an SGO

Maximum funding allocations for each child

Until the end of the financial year 2019 to 2020 the ASF will have 2 fair access limits:

  • £2,500 per child per year for specialist assessment
  • £5,000 per child per year for therapy

The majority of applications to the fund fall within these limits. In exceptional cases, where there is an urgent need for higher cost support, LAs/RAAs are asked to match-fund applications.

Criteria for matched funding:

  • a high risk of adoption breakdown without high cost support
  • LAs and RAAs dealing with an unusually high number of complex cases that they cannot afford to fund without additional support from the ASF
  • additional funding would help to progress hard to place adoptions
  • a lack of available, affordable therapeutic support means higher cost provision is required

The ASF can fund up to 50% of the amount above the fair access limits, up to a maximum of £30,000 including the fair access limits.

How families access ASF support

The LA or RAA that places a child with a family is responsible for assessing that family’s support needs for 3 years after the order is made. After 3 years, the responsibility lies with the LA or RAA where the family lives, if they have moved.

Families apply to the relevant LA or RAA, which will assess their needs.

LAs and RAAs will:

  • assess the family and consider if therapeutic support is needed
  • decide on the type required and if it is eligible for payments from the ASF
  • apply directly to the ASF
  • purchase the support from their own list of approved suppliers when the ASF approves funding

Contact

Adoption support fund team

Published 10 July 2018
Last updated 17 September 2018 + show all updates
  1. Removed line ‘The ASF aims to complete a review within 5 working days of receiving an application from an LA or RAA’ due to an increase in application processing times.
  2. Added the link to the adoption support fund service.
  3. Updated with information about a service migration and when it will be available again.
  4. First published.