The adoption support fund was started by the Department of Education who appointed Mott MacDonald to implement it together with Core Assets and the British Association for Adoption and Fostering. The purpose is to help pay for therapies for children who have been adopted when they need it. The fund was established because it became evident that many families couldn’t afford the services to help children successfully transition into adoptive homes. The ASF helps adoptive families provide support they otherwise couldn’t provide on their own by assisting in providing children with a range of therapeutic services that are identified to help:
- improve relationships with friends, family members, teachers and school staff
- improve engagement with learning
- improve emotional regulation and behavior management
- improve confidence and ability to enjoy a positive family life and social relationships
Families are given access to this fund if they meet these criteria:
- A family has children up to and including the age of 21 or 25 and have a SEN Statement or ECH Plan
- The child has been adopted from local authority care in England or have been adopted from Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, but are living in England.
- An assessment of the families’ adoption support need was made by a local authority. Families have the right to request an assessment; the local authority is required by law to assess. It is the responsibility of the local authority to assess for adoption support needs for three years after the adoption order is complete. After the first three years, it is the responsibility of the local authority where you live if it is different.
After April 1, 2016, the fund became available for children after being placed in England and for special guardians who care for children who were looked after immediately prior to the special guardianship order.
According to familylives.org.uk, “A special guardianship order is an order appointing one or more individuals to be a child’s ‘special guardian.’ It is a private law order made under the Children Act 1989 and is intended for those children who cannot live with their birth parents and who would benefit from a legally secure placement.”
The social worker should talk to you about who can provide the types of service that you need and will recommend a provider. This could be an NHS provider, the local authority itself, a nearby local authority, or an independent provider. Local authorities are able to submit applications for funding before an adoption order so that any package of support from the time of placement can be continued once the adoption order is made. In 2016 and 2017, the fund was being extended to include packages of work that take place prior to the adoption order being made.