The Government has launched a new Adoption Support Fund to help adoptive parents access support services following adoption.
This follows a recommendation made by the Lords Select Committee on adoption legislation earlier this year that adoptive parents should receive more support following adoption, and that local authorities and other service providers should be legally obliged to provide this.
Recent research conducted by Adoption UK shows many parents remain unaware of their rights and entitlements. Eighty-one per cent of adoptive parents said their support needs were identified, yet only 56% were given the support they needed; and over half of the adoptive parents surveyed needed therapeutic services, but only 28% of adoptive parents reported that their adoption agency provided this.
Edward Timpson, Minister for Children and Families, said:
"The Adoption Support Fund will provide adoptive families with the right support - from cognitive therapy to music and play therapy and attachment based therapy - to ensure that these children have a stable and fulfilling childhood - a fundamental right for every child, no matter what their starting point in life."
The British Association for Adoption and Fostering welcomed the announcement, saying:
"Adopting a child has lifelong implications for all concerned and access to effective adoption support has been identified for many years as core to maximising the chances of that working well. When so many children have been adopted after an early life of abuse, neglect and uncertainty, specialist services are often required to help overcome the inevitable damage this can cause.
Adopters need to have confidence right from the beginning that if they find themselves in difficulty that there are services to whom they can reliably turn for advice, support or in some cases treatment. Those services need to be resourced. Establishing this new source of funding will inspire confidence and that can play a significant part in an individual or a couple's decision on whether they will adopt. There is a significant shortfall in the number of people coming forward to adopt and that confidence should have a significant impact on that ‘recruitment challenge'.
The adoption support fund will need to be implemented with care following the detailed evidence of ‘what works' from the pilot scheme. But if that happens, it will have a dramatic, positive impact on the lives of thousands of vulnerable children."
Following a trial of the fund in a number of local authorities, which will begin shortly, the Adoption Support Fund will be rolled out nationally in 2015.