Adoption UK has welcomed the government’s decision to extend the Adoption Support Fund (ASF) but warned that a long-term commitment is crucial.
The government committed £45m for the current financial year and has so far invested more than £200m in the ASF since its introduction in 2015, benefitting 61,000 families. However, the budget for the next financial year has not yet been confirmed.
Adoption UK said this means thousands of adoptive families will continue to be offered a range of therapeutic support aimed at helping their children overcome past trauma.
The charity said adopted children are among the most complex and vulnerable in society, with three-quarters having suffered serious neglect or abuse in their early lives, with lasting impact on relationships, health and learning.
These children can require intensive therapy and long-term support to help them thrive.
Adoption UK’s chief executive Dr Sue Armstrong Brown said: ‘This is another 12 months oxygen for adoptive and kinship families who need help to live with the impacts of early childhood trauma.
‘We are delighted that the government has listened to families and saved the fund for another year. In these challenging and uncertain times, vulnerable families need help more than ever.’
Recent research by Adoption UK found that around a third of adopted parents have been experiencing an increase in violence and aggression from their child since the pandemic took hold.
In April the government set up an additional emergency fund for adopters, which received more than 450 applications and approved £6.5m worth of support for adoptive families. The emergency fund ended in December.
Adoptive parent Kathryn said therapy accessed via the fund for her children has had a transformative effect on her family.
‘We deal with extreme violence in the home on a regular basis because of my child’s trauma, but the ASF gave us the capacity to keep going.
‘We don’t know where we’d be without it.’
Nine-in-ten adopters have told Adoption UK that the support paid for by the fund has been helpful, and a third say it has helped them avoid a family breakdown. However, the fact that the funding has only been guaranteed for a year means that the therapy the ASF provides is not secure.
Dr Armstrong Brown continued: ‘The Adoption Support Fund has been life-changing.
‘The end of the ASF is unthinkable – families need certainty about the future of this vital source of support, and it’s essential that the Government commit to stabilising the ASF over the long-term.’
Adoption UK is calling for a ten-year commitment to the fund, and for the additional emergency, money to be re-instated until March 2021.
Photo Credit – Pixabay