The Adoption Support Fund (ASF) has received a short-term extension for the third consecutive year, providing families with access to vital support until July 2022.
The Department for Education (DfE) has taken the unusual step of committing funding for the financial year 2022/23 ahead of the government’s next Comprehensive Spending Review, expected to take place this autumn.
The ASF funds therapeutic support for families whose children left care through adoption or special guardianship arrangements. These children are likely to have experienced severe trauma prior to coming into care and need therapeutic support to help them thrive.
The support that is agreed and begins in the financial year 2021/22 is guaranteed. From July to November 2021, support will be delivered over nine months rather than the usual twelve. This arrangement will be in place until the outcome of the Spending Review, which will determine the long-term future of the ASF.
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.
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.
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