Adoptive families are to be offered online counselling and couples therapy, as part of a £8m support package announced by the government.
Education secretary Gavin Williamson said up to £8m will be made available though the Adoption Support Fund to help adoptive families through the coronavirus pandemic.
The fund can be used by local authorities and regional adoption agencies to pay for activities such as virtual peer to peer support, access to helplines, couples therapy and online counselling.
The therapies available through the COVID-19 Adoption Support Fund will be delivered alongside those already offered by the fund, such as music activities, play therapy and family support sessions.
The government said the fund will be flexible so that local authorities and regional adoption agencies have discretion to spend their share of the money on the support that adoptive families in their areas need most at this time.
It comes as the Department for Education confirms it has spent more than £150m on the Adoption Support Fund since it was launched in 2015, helping more than 45,000 adoptive and special guardianship order families across the country.
‘We are taking urgent action to protect the country from the spread of coronavirus, meaning many of us have seen changes in our daily lives as we practice social distancing and stay at home. For adoptive families, often still adjusting to their new environments, this may create additional strain,’ said Mr Williamson.
‘That is why today I am freeing up £8m from our Adoption Support Fund to pay for therapies that will help families to cope in this uncertain time.’
The chair of the Adoption and Special Guardianship Leadership Board, Andrew Christie, commented: ‘I wholeheartedly welcome this news. Many adopters and special guardians are struggling during the current crisis and this funding will help provide much needed support for them and their families during these difficult times.’
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