Department for Education
Adoption Reform Update – October 2015

Hello and welcome to our October issue. We are marking National Adoption Week with important updates about regional adoption agencies, the Adoption Support Fund and, the Inter-Agency Fee. Further information is also set out in our press notice which issued on 20 October and which can be accessed from the following link.

Regional adoption agencies
On Tuesday 20 October, the Department announced the first 14 Regional Adoption Agency projects we will be supporting this year. These projects cover over 100 local authorities and all involve at least one voluntary adoption agency. A list of the projects we are supporting can be found here. We anticipate that more projects could be announced to join these in the coming weeks, as discussions are currently ongoing.

The government will provide financial and practical support to these projects to help their transition to become regional adoption agencies. The Consortium of Deloitte and Mutual Ventures has been appointed as a Delivery Partner to provide individual coaching to projects, as well as a programme of shared learning. We anticipate that some of this learning programme will be available to the whole sector. More details will follow in due course.

If you have queries please email:

Adoption Support Fund
The Adoption Support Fund (ASF) has provided over £7m for adoption support services in the first 5 months which has helped over 2000 families. Evidence from the first evaluation of the ASF stated that, “Families’ experiences of the funded services were overwhelmingly positive.” The ASF has now received applications from all local authorities and we would like to remind you that the ASF will also pay for:

  • Specialist further assessments
  • Therapeutic parenting
  • A range of creative therapies

The Colebrook Centre has completed a research brief summarising a study of the Adoption Support Fund (ASF) prototype phase. The study looks at how the ASF works and how to improve it.  Please click on the following link to read the document -

We have recently created an Adoption Support User Group, this will be a subgroup of our Adoption Support Expert Advisory Group (EAG), meeting quarterly in advance of the EAG. The group was set up to broaden and strengthen the ‘adopter voice’ in guiding the development of adoption support policy. The group consists of Regional Managers for Adoption UK, Adopter Champions and the 3 adopters that sit on our EAG. The group will cover issues on all adoption support reforms including:

  • Adoption Support Fund
  • Education and Early Years Support
  • Mental Health Support
  • Pay and Leave
  • Social Care Practice

The first introductory meeting was held on Tuesday 20th October, the Minister also attended to thank and welcome the adopters to the group. An interactive session later in the meeting posed the following questions to the adopters:

  • What support is needed post placement – pre-order?
  • What support is needed in the first year after the order is made?
  • How do families support needs change over time?
  • What makes a good adoption support service?
  • What is working well in adoption support – health, education and ASF?
  • What are the key remaining challenges for policy makers – national and local?

A flipagram video of the session can be found here:

Inter-Agency Fee Funding Scheme – helping to place hard to place children
You will be aware that the Department had been allocated £30m to reimburse local authorities for the cost of using the Inter-Agency fee to place hard to place children between July 8th 2015 and the end of July 2016.

We are pleased to report that all 152 local authorities have registered for the Inter-Agency Fund.. Authorities have reported that the fund has allowed them to think “wider and more flexibly” about placement options.

Given the strong demand for funding, we would urge local authorities to take advantage of this opportunity and submit their claims for this quarter before October 29th. You can do so by filling out Annex C (page 4) of the Grant Offer Letter and the Fee Evidence Form. Please send these electronically to

Keeping you in touch
We are sending this update to those we have contact details for and look to you to disseminate this bulletin more widely among your colleagues and members. If you do not wish to receive this update please reply to this email and we will ensure your details are removed before any further updates are circulated. If any of your colleagues would like to be added to our circulation list, they should send their name, email address, job title and contact details to

If you have any suggestions as to how we might make these updates more useful to you – or items you would like to see – please let us know by contacting the email address above.

Adoption and Family Law Team
Department for Education 
October 2015