The government has announced more than £19 million in new funding for adoptive families. The funds will help pay for therapies designed to help adopted children recover from traumatic life experiences and bond with their new families.
The planned therapies include intensive family support, music therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy.
A trial of the so-called Adoption Support Fund is set to begin shortly, with a national rollout scheduled for 2015. The Department for Education hopes to encourage other organisations involved in adoption, such as local authorities and agencies, to contribute to the fund and help it become self-sustaining over the long term.
Research conducted by support charity Adoption UK suggests that many adoptive families are unaware of their right to support from their local authority. A quarter of parents surveyed, meanwhile, said they had not received the support identified as necessary by their local authority. More than half the adoptive families needing access to therapeutic services have not received it, the survey also claims.
Speaking at the Children and Young People Conference 2013, Children’s Minister Edward Timpson said the fund represented a new approach to supporting adopted families.
“The Adoption Support Fund will ensure that [adopted] children have a stable and fulfilling childhood – a fundamental right for every child, no matter what their starting point in life.”
The Chief Executive of Adoption UK, Hugh Thornbery, added:
“We believe that the government’s commitment to providing funding for adoption support has the potential to be the most influential advance so far in improving today’s adoption system. With the majority of children currently waiting in care for adoption coming from a traumatised background, this momentous development provides the foundation on which a successful adoption system can be built.”
The announcement also received support from the British Association for Adoption & Fostering.
“Adopting a child has lifelong implications for all concerned and access to effective adoption support has been identified for many years as core to maximising the chances of that working well. When so many children have been adopted after an early life of abuse, neglect and uncertainty, specialist services are often required to help overcome the inevitable damage this can cause.”