6 October 2016

The Adoption Support Fund is making a huge difference to the lives of children and families. Last year a total of 3,500 families were supported with a budget of £19m. This year the budget was increased to £21m, and a further £2m increase has just been announced, making the total £23m.

But demand for support is over twice the level forecast. The Government has just introduced, as an interim measure for the remainder of this financial year, a £5,000 ‘fair access limit’ to ensure that families can continue to access support throughout the financial year. 

This will be implemented with immediate effect. For applications up to that amount, the application process will operate as it does now. 

There are a small number of children and families where an exception may be made to the fair access limit. Additional funding will be provided for these children, but only where a local authority agrees to provide match funding. The Government additional contribution will have a maximum limit of £30,000 (including the £5,000 fair access limit).  

Hugh Thornbery CBE, Chief Executive of Adoption UK, said: "The experiences of our members who have already benefited from the Adoption Support Fund are testament to how vitally important therapeutic support is. One told us recently ‘We don't like to think what life would be like without it right now!’ Another parent said: ‘Coming to therapy has taken a weight off my shoulders and helps to make things easier at home’.

"We have now for the first time begun to fully understand the level of unmet need that exists when it comes to therapeutic support for adoptive families. 

"With demand for support over twice the level forecast, I'm pleased that this year's budget has been increased by £2 million. The important thing now is to ensure that the fund continues to support those families who are most in need. The majority of applications made so far fall within the new £5,000 fair access limit and match funding from local authorities will ensure that there is still help available for those families in urgent need whose support costs more than this.

"Discussion must now take place about how this previously undisclosed level of demand will be met in the future."