Today Sarah from The Puffin Diaries introduces the new Adoption Support Fund,tells you how you go about accessing it and gives you her initial thought.
So have you heard about the Adoption Support Fund (ASF)?
From May this year, 2015, adopters will be able to access government funding for post adoption support services, a pot of money reported to be £19.3 million when the ASF was first launched in September 2013. In the press release on the DfE website this fund is described by the Prime Minister as,
“a lifeline for many adoptive families, helping them to access specialist services when their family needs them most.”
And Edward Timpson, Minister for Children and Families, highlighted the governments understanding of the need for this fund when saying:
“We know that children adopted from care have often lived through terrible experiences which do not just simply disappear once they have settled with their new families.”
So how do YOU go about accessing this funding?
You need to speak to either your local authority, or your placing authority. The authority from which your child/children originated are responsible for providing this services in the first three years of the adoption, after that your local authority takes on the responsibility.
You need to request an assessment of your families’ adoption support needs.
Providing this assessment for you is a legal obligation of all local authorities, so they can NOT refuse to carry out the assessment. However this does NOT mean that you will necessarily be eligible for funding.
Here you can download the BAAF Guidance for the Assessment Framework for Adoption Support. This lengthy document details how your needs will be assessed.
Your social worker is able to start these assessments now, so make your phone call or send that email, NOW.
If, once your assessment is complete, you are recognised to be in need of additional support, your social worker will apply, on your behalf, for funding. Your social worker will also be responsible for discussing with you where the support you require may be accessed.
More information on what type of support is available and NOT available, and also who is able to supply your support, can be found HERE
Also Hugh Thornbery CEO of @AdoptionUK, Chair of the #AdoptionSupportFund is on twitter as @TalkAdoptSupp and invites your questions and shared experiences of the Adoption support Fund. So if you have queries this is a good place to direct them.
So what do I Think About the ASF?
We are, Sarah from The Puffin Diaries and family, about to embark on our own assessment, commencing this week. I will aim to keep everyone up to date on how things progress and share our experience of the process.
Personally, right now, I have mixed feelings about the funding and the assessment. On one side, I am relieved that we may finally be able to access some much needed support for our family. However another part of my brain is sceptical, as we have been in this position before, needing support, and what we’ve been offered has been completely inadequate. I fear that insufficient funding will be allocated to really make the difference or we will not be deemed eligible for any funding at all.
The bigger picture is that this pot is surely not big enough to help all those families out there in need and there is no firm commitment, at the moment to provide further funding once this amount is spent. I posed this question to @TalkADoptSupp earlier.
So with that thought in mind, I urge anyone out there who feels they need some additional adoption support, to ask for an assessment NOW. Firstly because this money is here now and might not be here later and secondly, the best way to show the government the enormity of this demand is to make our needs known.
It will be interesting to see how many families request an assessment, then just how much funding is applied for and also just how much is actually allocated.