Walking you through the Adoption Support Fund

On 1 May 2015 the Adoption Support Fund (ASF) became available to adopters throughout England. It brought more than £19 million extra funding on line to support families.

The fund was established because many families need some kind of therapeutic support following adoption and too many have struggled to get the help they need in the past.

The government has now announced increased funding for the ASF. Read more here.

In October 2016, the Department for Education announced that demand for the Adoption Support Fund was over twice the level forecast and despite increasing funding by an extra £2 million, it had been forced to take action to limit access to the fund. A 'fair access limit' of £5,000 per child was introduced as well as a match-funding approach whereby local authorities share the cost of support over the fair access limit. Access to match-funding is based on high risk of adoption breakdown among other factors. Read more here

For 2017-18 a separate fund of £2,500 will be offered through the ASF when children require specialist assessment before treatment can begin. This will be in addition to the existing £5,000 fair access limit per child.

We want to make accessing the right support for your family as easy and transparent as possible. On this page we've outlined how the process workswho is eligible and what sort of support is available.

A monthly Adoption Support Fund newsletter was launched in November 2015 to bring you news, views and information that should help make clear what is available to you. Sign up to the ASF Newsletter.

The process

  1. Approach your local authority for an assessment of adoption support needs.
    The local authority that places the child with you is responsible for assessing your adoption support needs for three years after the adoption. After that, it becomes the responsibility of the local authority where you live.
    Local authorities will be able to submit applications for funding before an Adoption Order, so adopters can receive a continuous package of support from the time of placement.
  2. The local authority considers if therapeutic support is needed, the type required and if it is eligible for payments from the fund.
  3. The adopter and the local authority will look at the support that is available.
  4. The local authority applies directly to the Adoption Support Fund on behalf of the adopter.
  5. The Adoption Support Fund approves the funding and the funds are transferred to the local authority who then purchases the support.

Click here to see a simplified version of the process in diagram form.

Who is eligible?

The Fund is available for children living in England up to and including the age of 21 (or 25 with a Statement of Special Educational Needs or Education Health & Care Plan) who:

  • are adopted and were previously in local authority care in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.
  • are adopted from overseas.
  • are subject to a Special Guardianship Order.

What sort of support will the ASF pay for?

The fund will pay for therapeutic services that are not currently provided. These include therapeutic parenting courses and Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy among others. Click here to see a more detailed list of the sort of services that can be accessed through the fund.

Advanced, therapeutic parenting courses, like our Parenting Our Children course, can also be funded by the Adoption Support Fund.

Local Authorities and adoption agencies should already be providing some support under their adoption support services - these wouldn't be covered by the ASF, along with a variety of other therapies, treatments etc.

The Department for Education's 2020 vision for the ASF is:

 the delivery of excellent, timely and easily accessible therapeutic support for adoptive and special guardianship families;
 based on high quality assessment of need including, where necessary, health-led specialist assessments; and
 in a regionalised, integrated health and social care environment to ensure long term sustainability.

If you have questions or feedback on the Adoption Support Fund, get in touch directly at @TalkAdoptSupp on Twitter.