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National Adoption Week 2016 - Accessing the right post adoption support

Published: 20.10.16

Adoption UK is working with parents to highlight the importance of therapeutic support as the Adoption Support Fund (ASF) has now reached out to more than 9,000 adoptive families across England since its national roll-out 18 months ago.
National Adoption Week 2016 - Accessing the right post adoption support

The majority of children adopted today come from a background of abuse and/or neglect. As a result, adopted children frequently experience emotional, behavioural, educational and developmental difficulties, which can impact on their mental health and wellbeing for many years.

Many adoptive parents have previously struggled to access highly specialised support and the therapeutic parenting training which their children require to cope with early traumatic experiences. But the situation improved considerably in England when the ASF was launched in May 2015, providing an extra £19 million in therapeutic support for families. Adoptive parents and service providers across England were given further grounds for optimism when the government increased funding for the ASF to £21 million this year, with further increases planned for every year of this current Parliament.

She’d just explode - like a top coming off a bottle of fizzy drink which had been shaken up

The experiences of those who have benefited from the ASF are testament to how vitally important it is.

Claire*, aged 33, an adoptive parent from the northeast of England, says the support she accessed through the ASF has enabled her two-and-a-half year-old daughter Annie*, has who foetal alcohol syndrome, to flourish.

The single adopter explained: “Annie can’t cope with noise when we leave the house. She’d just explode - like a top coming off a bottle of fizzy drink which had been shaken up – she’d start screaming and head-banging.”

But Annie’s behaviour has improved immeasurably after Claire accessed an occupational therapist through the ASF.

Claire said: “This has massively improved our lives. It’s helped me to understand how Annie’s brain works and her needs. Annie was exhibiting extreme self-harm - I previously had no understanding of what was needed to help her.”

 'Life-line for many adopters'

Adoptive parent Emily* recalled how just getting her 10 year-old son James* to school could prove “traumatic”.

Emily said: “The support our family received through the ASF has given James the best shot at coming to terms with his early life, which has previously held him back in life. It would have taken a toll on us had we not received this support and James has come on tremendously - words cannot express how important it has been for us, as a family.”

Adoption UK’s chief executive Hugh Thornbery CBE said: “Last year’s funding for the ASF has proved to be a life-line for many adopters struggling to secure the therapeutic support needed for their children. The experiences of our members who have already benefited from the ASF are testament to how vitally important therapeutic support is so we’ll be campaigning for parity for adoptive families across the whole of the UK.”

Adoption UK is the leading charity providing awareness and understanding for those parenting, or supporting, children who cannot live with their birth parents. We are consistently rated as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted.

Adoption UK’s purpose is to give voice to adoptive families and to ensure that the right support is there for them.  Anyone experiencing difficulties is urged to become a member of Adoption UK and contact our helpline on 0844 848 7900 or by emailing helpdesk@adoptionuk.org.uk