My New Year’s Resolution Two days before Christmas the DfE announced an extra £12 million for the Adoption Support Fund (ASF) in England. The cash injection tops up this year’s already maxed-out allowance, and takes next year’s fund to £40 million. This is a welcome and very much needed Christmas present for adoptive families in England, who depend on expert help and support to parent children traumatised by their early experiences. As attention starts to shift towards the ASF’s successor, due in 2020, I’m glad that Ministers haven’t backed away from the urgency of post-adoption support provision. We are, of course, still in the realms of fighting for restricted resources, available subject to constraints, and in some cases and places, not at all. So my new year’s resolution for Adoption UK is to make a clearer and better case for expert support for adoptive families, kinship carers and others facing similar issues. This will need to influence not only the ASF’s successor (the ASF is due to end in 2020), but also planning and provision for resources in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, where no strategic post-adoption support funds exist. The month before the decision to boost the ASF funds was made, Adoption UK took eight adopters to a roundtable discussion with Children’s Minister Nadhim Zahawi. I’m certain that the minister would have heard from a range of experts and taken recommendations from his officials before making his decision. But I’m also certain that hearing directly from adopters themselves about bringing up traumatised children without support (lost jobs, child to parent violence, school exclusions, mental health crises, relationship breakdown, social isolation) versus with support (correct diagnoses, useful strategies, a manageable home life, and above all the re-emergence of understanding, trust and hope) will have brought the issues alive. Our timing was excellent. There are around 4,000 adoptions a year across the UK and a very conservative 3,000 more kinship care placements. So at minimum, 7,000 children who cannot live with their birth parents will join another family in 2019. As a rule of thumb we would expect two thirds of these to need some kind of post-placement support. Providing the £5k Fair Access Limit, which is the annual allocation per child under the ASF, for all the children to be placed this year would cost £23m. That’s over half of the ASF total for next year – without providing anything for the tens of thousands of children already placed. Adoption, deployed well, is an opportunity to restore a child’s life chances. It removes children from situations, not of their making, in which they cannot thrive, and provides them with safety, stability and the chance to flourish. In some cases, it can break a cycle of neglect or abuse which has perpetuated for generations. But in all cases, adoption does not erase the past. Adopted and kinship care children will live with the legacy of their early experiences forever. As a society, we need to ensure that all adoptive families have early, expert support, designed to help the families to parent therapeutically and the children to recover from or live with their early experiences. This goal needs to inform the development of adoption systems in all four countries of the UK. So in 2019 I’m hoping to bring lots more adopters to meet decision makers, at roundtables, in conferences, at debates, through surveys, in reports, and via social media. And unlike my intentions to avoid biscuits and cut down on caffeine, this is a resolution I’ll really enjoy keeping.