Shadow education minister Lord Watson said that for the government to bring the fund to an end next year would be ‘inconceivable’, ‘an act of vandalism’ and an ‘abdication of responsibility’.
‘I believe it is simply inconceivable that the Government would, in 14 months’ time, when the current funding runs out, choose to bring it to an end.
‘Such has been its impact on around 40,000 families with adopted children that denying them the vital therapeutic services that the fund enables would be an act of vandalism and an abdication of responsibility that I simply cannot imagine any government contemplating, not even one as unpredictable as this.
‘Adoption plays a crucial role in providing support for some of our most vulnerable children, alongside special guardianship, foster care and residential care.’
Responding to the announcement, Adoption UK chief executive Dr Sue Armstrong Brown said: “Extending the Fund has thrown a lifeline to families bringing up some of the most vulnerable children in England.
‘Many families will be mightily relieved about the reprieve to the ASF. But there’s no doubt that anxieties will persist until the Government makes a long term commitment to supporting adoptive families.
‘We will continue to work with adopters to make the case for the help their children deserve.’
Last month, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson announced that adoption would be a ‘priority’ for the new government. This followed the injection of an additional £5 million into the fund for 2020/21, taking the overall budget for this financial year to £45m.
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