9 Jan 2013
Adoptive parents are to be given personal budgets in a trial to allow them more choice over the adoption support they receive.
The proposal is part of the recently announced package of reforms to give prospective adopters and adoptive parents more influence in the adoption process.
Adoption support currently includes financial assistance, therapeutic services and assistance with contact arrangements with birth relatives or services to enable adoptive parents and children to discuss issues in relation to adoption. Local Authorities currently must provide an assessment of adoptive parent’s needs on request but have no duty to provide services (though they must act reasonably when deciding whether to provide support).
The trials are due to take place over two years and have been welcomed by Adoption UK’s Chief Executive, Hugh Thornbery:
“We welcome the Government’s announcement of the trial of personal budgets to allow adopters more choice over the type and provider of adoption support. Adoption UK knows from its membership that appropriate support packages are vital not to just to encourage new adopters but also to ensure adoptive families are fully equipped to provide a permanent, stable and loving home to some of the most vulnerable and traumatised children in our society.
However, he added that Adoption UK was concerned that local authority and NHS cuts would mean that insufficient adoption support services would be available for personal budgets to work:
“We know that local authorities have been tightening their budgets for some time but it should be remembered that in the long run, the cost of providing appropriate, timely support is less than keeping a child in care. To adoptive families, this announcement is hopeful but we would welcome the government’s reassurance that the funding will be in place to fully implement these plans.”