From May 2015 the Department for Education set aside money in what is called the Adoption Support Fund (ASF) and is available nationally. This was established because many families need some kind of support following adoption and some have struggled to get the help they need in the past. It is hoped that the fund can enable them to access the services they need more easily in future.
Who is eligible for the Adoption Support Fund
The fund is available for adopted children up to and including the age of 18 (or 25 with a Statement of Special Educational Needs or Education Health and Care Plan) who have been adopted from local authority care in England or adopted from Wales but living in England. The fund is not for support to families who have children placed but not yet adopted.
Access to the fund
You need to have an assessment of your family’s adoption support needs by a local authority adoption agency. The local authority that placed your child with you is responsible for assessing your adoption support needs for the first three years after the adoption order was granted. After three years it becomes the responsibility of the local authority where you live (if different). This should clarify if it is Hull Adoption Support services who assess your family’s needs or another local authority adoption team.
Where the assessment identifies that therapeutic services would be beneficial to your family, the local authority apply to the Fund on your behalf, who then release funding to the local authority. The local authority social worker is expected to talk to you about who can provide the types of service that you need and which provider you would prefer.
Support available through the ASF
The ASF can provide funding for a range of therapeutic services that are identified to help achieve the following positive outcomes for you and your child. Improved -
- relationships with friends, family members, teachers and school staff
- engagement with learning
- emotional regulation and behaviour management
- confidence and ability to enjoy a positive family life and social relationships
To achieve these outcomes the Fund will pay for therapeutic support and services including -
- therapeutic parenting training
- further more complex assessment (such as CAMHS assessment, multidisciplinary assessment including education and heath, cognitive and neuropsychological assessment, other mental health needs assessment)
- Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy
- filial therapy
- creative therapies such as art, music, drama, play
- Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR)
- Non-Violent Resistance (NVR)
- sensory integration therapy or sensory attachment therapy
- Multi Systemic Therapy
- specialist clinical assessments where required (such as Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder)
- extensive therapeutic life story work
What the ASF will not pay for
- information, advice, guidance and signposting
- opportunities for adoptive parents to interact (such as support groups)
- mediation of contact with birth families
- mediation services when an adoptive family is at risk of disruption
- financial support
- basic life story work
- support for physical medical conditions
- speech and language therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other universal health services.
- education support
- membership of clubs and organisations
- legal support
- support provided by private sector and third sector organisations that are not Ofsted regulated unless commissioned through local authorities
- training of staff
- support not delivered in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
- animal, pet or equine therapy
- ex local authority (associate) social workers
The ASF application process
The adoptive family contacts the Local Authority Adoption support team and requests an assessment of adoption support needs. A social worker meets with family members (and relevant others) to assess the support needs of the family. The assessment recommends if therapeutic support services are needed. If so, the family and assessing social worker agree a provider of support and complete the ASF application. The application can take up to five working days for a decision. The family are advised of the decision and the next steps if funding is agreed. Once approved funds are released to the Local Authority to arrange the support as agreed.