PAC-UK is pleased to publish the details of the government’s new Adoption Support Fund which will be available to adoptive families from May 2015. Adoptive families in need of extra support will have easier access to specialist 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 life.

The Adoption Support Fund will be available nationally from May 2015. This is being established because many families need some kind of support following adoption and too many have struggled to get the help they need in the past. The Fund will enable them to access the services they need more easily in future.

Who will be eligible for the Adoption Support Fund?

The Fund will be available for children up to and including the age of 18 (or 25 with an SEN statement) who have been adopted from local authority care in England or adopted from Wales but living in England.

Local authorities will be able to submit applications for funding before an Adoption Order, so that they can provide you with a continuous package of support from the time of placement.

What will I need to do?

To access the Fund, you will need to have an assessment of your families’ adoption support needs by the local authority. This is a current legal obligation of all local authorities.

The local authority that places the child with you is responsible for assessing your adoption support needs for three years after the adoption. After three years it becomes the responsibility of the local authority where you live (if different).

Where the social worker identifies that therapeutic services would be beneficial to your family, they will apply to the Fund on your behalf, who will release funding to the local authority.

The social worker will be expected to talk to you about who can provide the types of service that you need and which provider you would prefer. This could be the local authority itself, a neighbouring local authority, an independent provider or an NHS provider.

All the information that you need will be available on the First4Adoption and Adoption UK websites. The Adoption Passport sets out the other types of support and help that you are eligible for.

What support will I be able to get?

The Fund will provide money for a range of therapeutic services (the details of which will be listed here from May 2015), but will include therapeutic parenting training; creative therapies; psychotherapy; and play therapy.

The Fund will also be able to finance further specialist clinical assessments such as for Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

Where an assessment identifies that you may need other support, such as financial help, or access to peer support groups, the local authority will be responsible for providing this, at their discretion, as is the situation now. The Pupil Premium is available for children adopted from care as well, to help with your child’s needs at school.

Good authorities will work together across social care, health and education to provide a holistic package of support. There is further work going on in government to improve mental health support via a Department of Health taskforce and to encourage joined-up assessments of your family’s needs.

If you have any further questions about the Fund or other support related issues, please give the First4Adoption information line a call on 0300 222 0022 and their advisers will be glad to help you.