Support for adopters
Under government direction all local authorities are currently moving towards or have already adopted a new model of adoption services, including adoption support, through regional adoption agencies (RAAs). These new agencies will work across several local authorities with the aim of speeding up matching; improving the life chances of neglected and damaged children; improving adopter recruitment and adoption support; and reducing costs.
Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (RBWM) have already moved towards this regional model and are now part of Adopt Thames Valley (ATV) Regional Adoption Agency. The ATV Permanence Support Team offer specialist support, advice and training for adoptive families and Special Guardians. To contact the ATV Permanence Support Team please phone 01865 323121 or email ATV.Permanencesupport@oxfordshire.gov.uk
In the autumn of 2019, Richmond and Kingston boroughs joined with seven other local authorities (Merton, Sutton, Croydon, Wandsworth, Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham) to form Adopt London South. In turn, they are part of Adopt London, which has information and resources for adoptive parents. If you have a specific question and you live in Richmond or Kingston, you can still contact the local adoption team in-borough on 0208 547 4620.
Adoption Support Funding
In May 2015 the Adoption Support Fund was introduced to make therapeutic support easily accessible, timely and of high quality for families when they need it the most.
Adoptive parents are eligible to apply for up to £5,000 per annum per child to meet their therapeutic needs and/or the therapeutic needs of your family. An additional £2,500 is available to carry out a specialist therapeutic assessment.
Unlike Pupil Premium Plus, adoption support funding is also available to children and young people who have been adopted from outside England and Wales, including overseas, and extends up to the age of 21. Also, if the child or young person concerned has an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) they may access the fund until they are 25. To access this funding families will need to be assessed by their local Adoption Support Service and they will be able to apply for funding on your behalf.
Children who left local authority care under a Special Guardianship Order may also be eligible for this funding, find out about your eligibility and FAQ here. As for adopters, access is through your local Permanence Support Service.
The charity first4adoption.org.uk has clear and comprehensive information about how adoption support funding works. Their available therapies section of their website offers helpful suggestions for and definitions of therapies that can be paid for with the ASF.
The Adopter Hub
The AfC virtual school works in partnership with the adoption charity PACT to offer free subscriptions for parents to their online platform, the Adopter Hub.
If you haven't already signed up to this resource, please let us know on 0208 831 6037 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will arrange for you to receive a login.
The Adopter Hub works with specialists to inform and develop elements of their online provision, including their resources about attachment and a regular programme of webinars on subjects that are directly relevant to adoptive parents. They also train 'adopter peer supporters' as counsellors who then offer a listening ear through a one-to-one live, anonymous and confidential web chat to adoptive parents. This service is carefully moderated to ensure that it is safe and secure for everyone who uses it.
Life story work (see below) is one example of resources offered by the Adopter Hub.
New life story resources
We often take for granted the stories we are told about our early childhood, small events that have happened that we can't remember. These stories are often missing for adopted children, so life story work is invaluable to help create a coherent story of a child's life.
We've put together resources to help you to create and build on your child's life story. Head to the Resources section of the Adopter Hub and click on Life story. There you'll find:
- Webinar: Sharing your child's life story - Georgina Hibbert's webinar is a comprehensive introduction to life stories - why they're important and how to begin one
- Examples of things to say to your child: Practical examples of how to tackle difficult subjects such as neglect and abuse
- Book recommendations: Books to read if you'd like to find out more about life story work
To find out more and subscribe to the Adopter Hub, please contact email@example.com.