More than 2,000 families being helped through life-changing government fund worth over £7 million in the past 6 months.

From: Department for Education and Edward Timpson MP
First published: Part of: Looked-after children and adoption

ASFThousands of adoptive families are now accessing essential therapy services to help their children close the door on previous traumatic experiences and settle into their new life - backed by £7 million of government investment.

Since the introduction of the fund in April 2015 - the most significant reform to adoption support in a generation - applications have been made by every single council the length and breadth of the country.

And to make sure families get the support they need, when they need it, the government has today (20 October 2015) unveiled a new coalition of adoption champions, who will advise - and challenge - ministers on how help and support for families can be improved.

The group will bring together experienced adoptive parents who are determined to make a difference in shaping adoption services both locally and nationally, putting their knowledge and experience to good use for those families on the start of their adoptive journey.

Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson, who has 2 adopted siblings, said:

"It’s absolutely fantastic news that over 2,000 adoptive parents across the country are now getting the help and support they need to set their brand new family on the road to a bright future.

"I know from my own personal experience that some children adopted from care have been through terrible ordeals which don’t simply disappear once they have settled with their new families.

"It’s vital that adoptive families get the help they need to transform the lives of their children.

"And it’s adopters who are best placed to tell us how this vital support can be improved. I want to hear from them and put their real-life experiences to the best possible use in improving services for other adoptive families."

The government has also revealed details of the first 14 regional adoption agencies, groups of councils and voluntary adoption agencies coming together with one single purpose - to place children waiting for adoption without delay with their forever family.

At the moment, adoption is happening at too small and localised a scale. One study showed that in around 1 in 3 cases, children were left waiting longer than necessary due to councils’ reluctance to look outside their immediate area for the right family - a further delay to a life full of love and stability.

Encouraging local authorities and voluntary adoption agencies to join forces will act as a triple win, giving agencies a greater pool of approved adopters to improve matching, making vital support services more widely available to adoptive families, and better targeting the recruitment of adopters.

The government will provide financial and practical support for councils and adoption agencies to enable them to bring services together regionally, and implement the greatest step change in the way children are matched for adoption in a generation.

Today’s announcement is evidence of the government’s commitment to reform the adoption system so children waiting are provided with stable and loving homes much more swiftly, giving them the opportunity to settle and bond with their new family.

The government has:

  • provided £30 million to speed up the finding of adoptive parents in England by covering the costs incurred by councils who find parents beyond their geographical boundaries
  • introduced regional adoption agencies to place children waiting for stable loving homes, quickly
  • removed barriers by ensuring ethnicity is not prioritised over other factors, such as the ability to provide a stable, loving home
  • introduced new rules requiring councils to actively consider fostering for adoption places where appropriate, allowing children to move in with their adoptive family much earlier
  • placed mandatory requirement on all councils to tell prospective adopters about their entitlements
  • extended pupil premium funding and priority school admissions so that all children adopted from care are eligible for extra funding at school
  • empowered adoptive parents to choose the school that will best meet their child’s needs

Notes to editor

  1. The government’s Adoption Support Fund- worth over £19 million - has now helped over 2,000 families across the country, with investment to date totalling £7 million. Read more about the Adoption Support Fund
  2. The new adopter champions are:
    • Scott Casson-Rennie, adopter, Senior Development Manager, Adoption UK
    • Al Coates, adopter, member of the Adoption Support Expert Advisory Group
    • Jenny Jones, adopter, member of the Adoption Support Expert Advisory Group
    • Sally Donovan, adopter, member of the Adoption Support Expert Advisory Group
    • Anita Hart, adopter, Adoption UK Regional Manager, Midlands
    • Avril Head, adopter, Adoption UK Adopter Champion
    • Michael Denmead, adopter, Adoption UK Adopter Champion
    • Caroline Rigby, adopter, Adoption UK Adopter Champion
    • Sara Stocks, adopter, Adoption UK Adopter Champion
    • Helen King, adopter, Adoption UK, North West Regional Manager
  3. Below is a list of the successful regional adoption agency projects we have announced today. Each of these projects will receive financial support and practical support from our delivery partner - the Consortium of Deloitte and Mutual Ventures. This is the first group of projects that join Coram Capital (funded by the Voluntary Adoption Agency Expansion Grant programme) in the move to regionalising adoption. We anticipate that more projects could be announced to join these in the coming weeks, as discussions are currently ongoing.
Lead bidder Local authorities Voluntary adoption agencies
Yorkshire and Humber All 15 local authorities in the Yorkshire and Humber region After Adoption, Adoption Matters, PAC UK, Yorkshire Adoption Agency
Bolton Blackburn with Darwen, Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Tameside Adoption Matters, Caritas Care
Coram Cambridgeshire county council, Northamptonshire county council, Norfolk county council, Bedford borough council, Central Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire county council Coram Cambridgeshire Adoption (CCA), St Francis Children’s Society and Adoption Plus
Wolverhampton Walsall, Dudley, Sandwell, Wolverhampton, Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Adoption Focus
PACT Medway, Milton Keynes, Brighton and Hove PACT
Stockport Stockport metropolitan borough council, Trafford metropolitan borough council, Manchester City, Salford City, Cheshire East borough council Adoption Matters and Caritas Care
Adopt Berkshire Bracknell Forest, Reading, Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, West Berkshire, Wokingham, Milton Keynes, Oxfordshire, Medway Adoption Plus, Coram, Barnardo’s, St Francis Children’s Society, PACT
Lincolnshire Lincolnshire, Lincoln City, Nottingham City, Nottinghamshire, Peterborough, Derbyshire, Derby City, Leicester City and Leicestershire Adopt Together, Coram East Midlands, Family Care
Liverpool Liverpool, Sefton, Wirral and Knowsley Nugent Care and After Adoption
Essex Essex, Southend, Hertfordshire, Luton and Suffolk Adoption Plus
Families for Children Bournemouth Borough, Dorset, Borough of Poole, Somerset Families for Children
London Adoption Board All 33 London boroughs Action for Children, Adoption Plus, Barnardo’s, Coram, Family Futures, IAC, PACT, PAC UK, SSAFE, TACT
Wigan Wigan, Warrington, St Helens, Cheshire West, Halton Adoption Matters, Caritas Care
Plymouth Plymouth, Torbay and Devon Families for Children and Barnardo’s

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