I want to write about the Adoption Support Fund (ASF) because I’ve been shocked and saddened by how many adopters are unaware of its existence. Ive also been appalled at how many adoptive families are finding it difficult to access the ASF. So I’m hoping you’ll all share this with friends and family so that awareness can be raised in the UK adoption community.
The Adoption Support Fund (ASF) is a new fund established to help pay for essential therapy services for adoptive families as and when they need it.
In December 2013 the DFE released a prototype of the ASF to 10 Local Authorities, in May 2015 it opened up the ASF to include ALL 152 local authorities, added 19.3million pounds to the pot and stated “We encourage all Local Authorities to make applications for funding to provide pre and post-adoption therapeutic support”. Funding was initially only secured for 1 year so there was quite a bit of uncertainty about accessing services that would be required for longer than a year. In January 2016 the DFE announced that it would be continuing to provide funding for the ASF with plans to increase it year on year over the next 4 years!
The Department for Education (DfE) is keen that adoptive families have early access to therapeutic parenting training and attachment based therapy – both of which will help to establish relationships and create a stable family environment.
So how can the ASF help adoptive families?
The Fund will provide money for a range of therapeutic services that are identified to help achieve positive outcomes for you and your child
- Therapeutic parenting training
- Further more complex assessment (e.g CAMHS assessment, multidisciplinary assessment including education and health, cognitive and neuropsychological assessment, other mental health needs assessment.)
- Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy
- Filial therapy
- Creative therapies e.g. art, music, drama, play
- Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR)
- Non-Violent Resistance (NVR)
- Sensory integration therapy/Sensory attachment therapy
- Multi Systemic Therapy
- Specialist clinical assessments where required (e.g. Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder)
- Extensive life story work with a therapeutic intervention (where therapy is used to help the young person understand and cope with the trauma and difficulties that their life story work might revisit)
- Respite care (where it is part of a therapeutic intervention)
There are other things you can access the ASF for, this is just a few ideas. You will note the ‘therapeutic theme’ in the above suggestions. The ASF is focused on providing funding for therapeutic support services. It’s not there to fund support groups (even though they can be hugely therapeutic), or provide you with an adoption allowance or even basic life story work for your child, the DFE believe all of these services should be provided by your own local authorities post adoption team and I tend to agree.
Is it easy to access the ASF?
Well it should be, sadly it seems this isn’t always the case. My own experience of the ASF with my own local authority has been hugely positive. We accessed the ASF to provide funding for the DDP therapy the girls have been receiving. Our post adoption social worker came out to visit, completed an assessment of our needs and submitted the application to the ASF of which a reply was received 5 days later. So all very smooth, painless and quick! Honestly, that’s how it should be for all adopters.
Sadly it seems not all LA’s are as informed on the purpose or ease of access of the ASF as our LA are. Some adopters are being met with resistance by LA’s who are reluctant to apply for funding insistent on sending their social workers to provide services that they’re really not qualified to provide or using their own budgets to fund services. This really makes no sense at all, the ASF money isn’t part of own budget so no real reason why they shouldn’t want to use it, in fact, its saving them money in the long run and freeing up their social workers to provide the services they’re supposed to be providing! Then there are also adopters that have been told there is a loooooooooong wait for the Assessment of Needs to be carried out, sometimes as much as 12 months!! This is probably the same authorities that are reluctant to access the fund and instead their social workers are so busy trying to provide therapeutic services that they’re too busy to carry out the very important assessment of needs by new applicants! madness!
My advice is find your required service, present it to your post adoption worker, ask for an assessment of your families needs, which the LA are obligated to carry out, with a view to access the ASF. If your met with resistance, go higher, to the top if you need to, the fund is there to support adopted children and their families, end of, don’t allow yourselves to be fobbed off! As with everything ‘adoption’, it seems some of us even have to fight for the stuff meant for us!
Below I’ve added a couple of links to information, some of the information/facts I’ve used here ha been taken from these websites. If you didnt know about the ASF please take the time to read through these websites, and if you did know about the ASF, read them anyway, you might discover something new 🙂
Finally, please remember to share this with everyone you know involved in any shape or form with adoption! 🙂
Official ASF website : http://www.adoptionsupportfund.co.uk/
Also if you want to chat some more, or are having issues accessing the ASF you can tweet @talkadoptsupp or one of the parent representatives on the ‘Expert Advisory Group’ @jenniferj432, @sallydwrites or @nadjasmit who will hopefully be able to answer all your questions 🙂
I’ve linked this post up over at The Adoption Social for their ‘Weekly Adoption Shout Out’ (#WASO), please visit and have a look through all the other great adoption blogs.