A cross-party group of MPs and Peers has opened an inquiry into the future of post-adoption support in England. The inquiry will consider the running of the ASF so far and is expected to call on the government to make a long-term commitment to funding therapeutic support for adoptive families.

This inquiry is being run by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Adoption and Permanence (APPGAP).

The Adoption Support Fund (ASF) has become the core source of therapeutic support for adoptive families in England since its introduction in 2015 and has since been extended to Special Guardianship families. The fund has delivering more than £100m worth of support for approximately 35,000 families. In December, the Government announced an initial £12 million would be added to the fund, with a further guarantee in March 2019 that applications and support made and started in the financial year 2019/20 would be met.

However, the government is only committed to delivering the fund until July 2020. The future of the fund beyond 2020 is subject to the outcome of the government’s Spending Review.

As part of the inquiry, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Adoption and Permanence, which was launched in February this year, will be accepting written submissions from adoptees (including children), adopters, social workers, agencies, local authorities and support providers about their engagement with the ASF. Submissions can be made online via a survey, available here.

The group will also be holding evidence sessions throughout May with a view to producing a report on the future of post-adoption support in England by the summer. The report will seek to provide recommendations on how the ASF can work better for families when its long-term future is secure.

Launching the inquiry, the group’s chair, Rachael Maskell MP said:

It is vital that the Government commits to sustaining the fund over the longer term. Timely and appropriate support is an absolute necessity for those parenting the most vulnerable children in our country. The inquiry offers an opportunity to explore how the fund may be improved so that it delivers exactly what families need. Through this cross-party initiative, we seek to champion the role adopters and special guardians play and secure the lasting support they deserve.

The terms of reference, including further information about the inquiry are available here.