Department for Education
Adoption Reform Update – April 2016

Adoption: A vision for change
As many of you may already be aware, the Department for Education published a new adoption policy paper, Adoption – A vision for change, on 27 March. This paper explains how the government plans to address challenges in the adoption system over the next 4 years and can be found here:

Key new announcements include:

Regional Adoption Agencies

  • Providing funding and support via a RAA development fund, with up to £14m available across 2016-18 to support the implementation of RAAs.


  • Developing a robust continuous professional development programme to enable social workers to develop the skills they need to make and support robust permanence decisions.

Innovation and Practice Fund

  • Introducing two new funding streams for RAAs, voluntary adoption agencies and voluntary organisations, with up to £16 million across 2016-18.

Adoption Support Fund

  • Increase the ASF in 2016-17 to £21m and £28m in 2017-18, with further increases in every year in this Parliament;
  • extend support to adopted young people up to age 21 (from April 2016);
  • allow children adopted from other countries via intercountry adoptions to use the ASF (from April 2016); and
  • extend support to special guardians who care for children who were previously looked after (from April 2016).


  • By summer 2016, setting up an expert group to advise DfE and DH ministers on new care pathways for adopted and looked-after children. These will set out best practice to be followed in the treatment/support of these children.


  • Use legislation to expand the role of virtual schools heads and consider how designated teachers can continue to support children who have left care under an adoption order.

The government has also announced the appointment of Andrew Christie as the new Chair of the Adoption Leadership Board. Andrew takes over from Sir Martin Narey and will be working closely with Ministers over the coming months to take the new adoption plan forward.

Keeping you in touch

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Adoption Reform Team
Department for Education
April 2016