The Treasury has allocated £7m to the Department for Education (DfE)to help implement the Government’s National Adoption Strategy, but there is no detail yet around the funding the Adoption Support Fund (ASF) will receive.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the Government’s spending plans for the next three years, setting out how much Whitehall departments will have to spend to 2024–25.

While it is not yet clear exactly how the £7m will be spent, it builds on this year’s £1m for recruitment, approval and early permanence. It remains to be seen how much the DfE will allocate to the ASF, which provides vital therapeutic support for adoptive families, and which stood at £46m this year. Adoption UK has written to the DfE and the Chancellor urging them to extend the fund and commit to its long-term future.

Education continues to be a particular concern for adoptive families, and there were several important announcements made on school budgets. A further £1.8bn in catch up funding for schools, to help children recover lost learning because of the pandemic, was announced. While welcomed, this is a long way off the amount recommended by the sector, who put it at between £13bn - £15bn.

Sunak also announced a £4.7bn uplift in the core schools’ budget by 2024-25 which puts per pupil funding in line with where it was in 2010.  

Previously looked after children and adopted children are more likely to have a range of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) than their peers, so the £2.6bn allocated to improve SEND provision over the next few years is welcome. However, it remains to be seen if the additional places this money will fund will include specialist settings for children impacted by trauma and disrupted attachments.

Other announcements include £200m to continue holiday activities and food programmes for disadvantaged children over the school holidays; £18m to create a network of family hubs to improve access to services for families; and £20m for parenting support. Again, a lot of the devil will be in the detail and Adoption UK will be urging the DfE to consider adoptive families when developing these policies.

Another headline announcement was the £4.8bn new grant funding for local authorities over the next three years - the largest increase in core funding in more than a decade. The multi-year settlement will mean councils will find it easier to plan services, but what impact this will have on the funding gap for children’s social care is yet to be seen. The Local Government Association previously estimated that English councils would need £2.7bn more for children’s social care by 2025 to deal with pressures on the service.

Finally, the devolved nations were allocated increased funding over the next three years in what the Chancellor hailed as "the largest block grant since devolution in 1998". Again, we will have to wait to see what this means for adoption services in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales in the weeks and months to come.