Department for Education - Press release
19 February 2015

One hundred and sixty adoptive families across the country have now benefited from essential therapy services to help their children settle into their new home, thanks to a brand new government fund.

Many adopted children have experienced difficult and traumatic experiences before being placed with their forever family, which can prevent them from settling into their new home and can create difficulties at particular stages such as adolescence.

The £19.3 million Adoption Support Fund – currently being piloted across ten areas before being rolled out nationwide from May 2015 – helps pay for essential therapy services for adoptive families as and when they need it. And in just eight months, the councils test driving the scheme have helped over 160 adoptive families, with support made available totalling over £1 million.

Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson, who grew up with two adopted brothers, said:

“It’s encouraging that after just eight months more than 160 adoptive families have been given the help and support they need to bond with their families and settle into their new lives.

“I know from my own personal experience that some children adopted from care will have been through terrible ordeals which do not just simply disappear once they have settled with their new families

“Adopters across the country who could benefit from therapeutic services should now be asking their local authority to apply to the fund so that they too can benefit from this essential support.”

Adoption UK CEO Hugh Thornbery, said:

“I am delighted that following successful pilots in ten local authorities, more than 160 adoptive families across England have been able to access therapeutic support.

“In the pilot areas we’ve seen the fund make a difference to families so we look forward to it being rolled out across England and will be seeking feedback from our members on its implementation.

“The fund is a huge step in the right direction towards ensuring that families get the help they need to parent vulnerable children.”

The Adoption Support Fund is part of a wider package of reforms introduced by the government through the Children and Families Act, including a faster approval process so the majority of people are approved within six months and new rules so prospective adopters and children are placed on the adoption register within three months. These reforms have resulted in a record high in adoptions over the last 12 months.

The government has also:

  • extended entitlements so that children in care going straight through to adoption have access to priority school admissions, the pupil premiums and - from September 2014 - are eligible for free early education for 2-year-olds
  • published the adoption passport setting out the rights and entitlements of adoptive parents, and new online maps allowing potential adopters to find out more about services in their area
  • set up First4Adoption, a dedicated information service for people interested in adopting a child in England

Notes to Editor:

  1. The ten councils who took part in the Adoption Support Fund pilot included Newcastle, North Yorkshire, Manchester, Leicester, Solihull, Gloucestershire, Cornwall, East Sussex, Hampshire and Lewisham. The number of families supported to date are:
Local Authority Name Total funding approved (£) Number of applications
Cornwall £73,167.50 23
East Sussex County Council £72,372.30 25
Gloucestershire County Council £369,333.16 27
Hampshire County Council £112,440.00 20
Leicester City Council £32,325.00 11
London Borough of Lewisham £7,091.50 7
Manchester City Council £17,775.84 4
Newcastle City Council £84,695.00 13
North Yorkshire County Council £284,132.17 12
Solihull MBC £98,530.24 18
TOTALS £1,151,862.71 160
  1. The Fund will be used to support adopted children and young people up until and including the age of 18. Support from the Fund will be available after the adoption court order and can be used to purchase services from the private and voluntary sector, as well as councils and Child and Adult Mental Health Services (CAMHS). The Fund will be able to approve applications submitted prior to the adoption order for services to be provided after it is issued.
  1. The government will fully fund the Adoption Support Fund in the first year, whilst committing in the long term to the pot being jointly funded by councils and government.