The UK’s leading charity for adoptive families has welcomed the Government’s announcement that it will extend the Adoption Support Fund for a further year, providing life-changing support for adopters and their children. But Adoption UK warns 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 Adoption Support Fund (ASF) since its introduction in 2015, benefitting 61,000 families. The budget for the next financial year has not yet been confirmed.
Today’s announcement means thousands of adoptive families will continue to be offered a range of therapeutic support aimed at helping their children overcome past trauma.
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 £6.5 million worth of support for adoptive families. The emergency fund ended in December.
Adoptive parent Kathryn said that therapy accessed via the fund for her children has had a transformative effect on her family. Kathryn said: ‘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 reinstated until March 2021.