Over the years, my children have seen pediatricians, dermatologists, orthotists, neurologists, physiotherapists, orthopedic surgeons and many more. Our family have travelled to hospitals and clinics in various counties. Of course, like all parents, we will do everything we can to prioritise the health of our children, but inevitably this has had an impact – on our children’s schooling, on our work and on our finances.

You will probably have noticed that the Department for Education has announced the Adoption Support Fund (ASF) has been confirmed for a further three years in England. This is tremendous news, because it means that vital therapies can continue for kinship and adoptive families. Whilst not perfect, the support available through the ASF can be life changing and we hear from families all the time telling us how essential this support has been to them.

However, there are some proposed changes to the ASF likely to come into force in April 2022. This includes cutting the travel time costs of therapy providers, meaning therapists will no longer be able to claim expenses for time travelled to provide therapy under the fund. It is my understanding the Department are making this alteration so that more of the fund’s money is spent on direct delivery time. However, for the therapists, if they travel for an hour there and back and provide an hour’s therapy, then they will only get paid for one out of three of those hours.

Different therapy services have different models, some provide clinic-based services, and some come out to see families in their homes, in their schools, or close by. It is likely that a consequence of this change will be a reduction in the availability of services outside of clinic facilities putting the onus on families to travel to appointments.

Adoption UK would love to hear what you think, as those most likely to be affected by this change. Will you be pleased the fund is being spent more wisely? Will you be unaffected either way? Will you be unable to continue therapy if you have to travel to a clinic for your session? Or something else entirely? Let us know your thoughts, and we will feed this back directly to the Department for Education for consideration.

Please email: [email protected] adding ‘ASF Travel’ to the subject heading, by 28th February 2022.

Ellie Haworth, Director of Service Delivery, Adoption UK