The Department for Education has released its latest policy paper which details the government’s vision for adoption over the next four years, including vital changes to the Adoption Support Fund (ASF) and amendments to the Children Act 1989 which governs the quality and stability of placements.
Headline reforms include changes to the ASF which will see children in special guardianship placements being eligible for help via the fund. The DfE has also pledged to increase the fund year-on-year until 2020; it is set to rise to £21m in 2016-17 and £28m in 2017-18. Children adopted via intercountry adoptions will also be eligible to the fund while all adopted children will have access to its support until they turn 21. There is also particular emphasis on addressing the educational and health needs of permanently placed children.
The government’ vision is that:
- Decisions about placements are always made in children’s best interests
- Service delivery has at its heart innovation and practice excellence
- Social workers are highly skilled professionals who make high quality, evidence based decision and do not tolerate damaging delay for children in their care
- Matches are made without unnecessary delay where Regional Adoption Agencies provide a large pool of adopters for every child in need of a new family
- Every adoptive family has access to an ongoing package of appropriate support with a right to a high quality, specialist assessment of need
- The voice of adopters and their children is at the heart of national and local policy decision making and delivery of services
Peter Sandiford, PAC-UK CEO said:
“The policy and legislative changes outlined in this policy document are very much welcomed. There are a number of highlights but I am particularly pleased to see a renewed emphasis on education, training and listening to adopters.”
“I also welcome the extensions being made to the Adoption Support Fund where it will be accessible to provide support to young people up to the age of 21 as well as providing support to special guardianship and children adopted from other countries.”
“The adoption landscape is changing; not just at the granular level but on a much larger scale and it is reassuring to get continued validation that adoption (and now permanence) support is a right, not a privilege. PAC-UK looks forward to rising to the challenges that Adoption - A Vision for Change presents.”Peter Sandiford, PAC-UK CEO