Adoption UK is delighted that “lifesaving” support for adoptive families will continue for another year but warns a long-term commitment is still crucial.

The Adoption Support Fund (ASF) provides adopted children and their parents with a range of therapeutic support.

It was due to expire in July 2020 but tonight the government has announced it will extend the fund until March 2021.

Adopted children are among the most complex and vulnerable in society as they have often suffered serious neglect or abuse in their early lives. These children can require intensive therapy and support to help them thrive.

The government has to date invested around £150 million in the ASF since its inception in 2015, helping more than 44,000 adoptive families across England.

It remains unclear how much will be invested into this extension - but an announcement is expected later in the year.

Bringing up traumatised children without the right support can lead to lost jobs, child to parent violence, school exclusions, mental health crises, relationship breakdown and social isolation. Getting the right help, however, can make all the difference, enabling a rewarding home life and keeping families together.

Single adoptive parent Julie described the ASF as “life-saver”, for her and her son Harry, who exhibited high levels of anxiety, including screaming and crying, head banging and not sleeping.

The ASF enabled Harry to access therapy, as well as therapeutic parenting for Julia, all of which she describes as “invaluable”.

Julia said: “I’d hate to think where I would be without this support. It has literally been a lifesaver to me and my son.”

Ruth, another adoptive parent, hailed the ASF as “vital” after it prevented her three daughters from being returned to local authority care.

The girls, who all have Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), were self-harming, stealing, lying and had a complete lack of understanding around consequences.

Ruth said: “The ASF turned it around for us. The girls have all received therapy and my husband and I have had training which has given us an understanding of why the girls behave as they do. This has transformed our family immeasurably.”

Adoption UK’s recently published Adoption Barometer report, which surveyed about 3,500 families across the UK, revealed:

 

  • Four in five adopters said that support accessed via the fund has had a significant positive impact on both their child and their family situation

 

  • 94% of those who received support from the fund are likely to apply again in the future

 

  • A third of adopters said the support accessed via the fund has helped them to avoid a potential disruption or adoption breakdown

 

This evidence was backed up by an evaluation, commissioned by the Department for Education in July, which found that the support adopters received from the ASF was beneficial for themselves (84%), their children (81%) and their family (76%).

Adoption UK’s chief executive Sue Armstrong Brown said: “The extension of this vital lifeline is fantastic news and will be a relief to thousands of adoptive families.

“But the government’s next move has to be a longer-term commitment. We would like to see the fund’s future secured until 2030.

“The right support can be the difference between an adoptive family staying together or breaking up. We must invest in these families if they are to succeed.”

The All-Party Group for Adoption and Permanence – made up of a cross section of MPs and Peers – and supported by Adoption UK, is calling on the government to increase funding to the ASF and make a long-term commitment until 2030.

Earlier this year the group conducted an inquiry which established a need for ongoing support. The inquiry’s findings highlight the transformative impact the ASF has had on thousands of adoptive and special guardianship families.