Tuesday 23 February 2016

Adoption Support Group at the DfE

We all came together for the three monthly meeting of the Adoption Support Expert Advisory Group to see where we were up to. We also had to report back the discussions of the sub group on Education and the meeting of the Adopter Voice representatives as previously blogged. There are no naysayers or dissenting voices in the group, they are individuals and representatives of organisations that appreciate the need for support for adoptive families.

Forgive me if I don't give a blow by blow account of the meeting.
The discussions followed the ongoing progress of the Adoption Support Fund. The anticipated amount of money has been used so far and the feedback is generally positive.  The data that is available on the use and benefits of the ASF is growing in size and usefulness. All good. Of course it could be better and access and implementation is varied across LAs and this is an issue that is being addressed with the DfE rolling out additional training in the next few months to support LAs and provide case studies of innovative uses. Also, the tricky issue of' adopter engagement', to use that awful phrase, getting clear and correct information to adopters about the fund is a key issue. If people don't know about it they don't know about it and they can't access it,  to state the obvious.

Education was discussed and the findings of previous meetings were fed back to the larger group. We had a young person from the Coram Adoptables initiative who brought their insight and perspective to the meeting in relation to their experience and thoughts on education. This perspective highlighed the need to develop professional's understanding of the unique, and shared challenges, that adopted children and young people experience within a school context. It was felt by all that the inclusion, empathy and skills needed to ensure school was a safe and nurturing environment for adopted children would bring nothing but benefits for all children regardless of background. So work is afoot to promote that message through a range of channels. The cogs and wheels of government.

The creation of the Regional Adoption Agencies was discussed and the specific issues of adoption support was highlighted as part of the core services that they will have to provide. This was developed as we discussed the need to see adoption support beyond the focus of the Adoption Support Fund. Accessing records and issues of contact and post box contact will have to be maintained and developed amongst other functions that are essential for families and adoptees often into adulthood.

Every adopter has a vested interest in the Government's policy on adoption support. Some less so than others and for us with older children the boat has well and truly sailed. However, for those setting out on this journey then this stuff can be life changing and have the potential for good in the lives of our children and family. So, a good meeting with a sense of evolution rather than revolution but certainly moving in the right direction.

If you're having trouble with your LA regarding the ASF then feel free to contact me through twitter @NadjaSmit 
or Jenny Jones @JenniferJ432 
or Sally Donavan @sallydwrites

We would be more than happy to pass on details (confidentially if you wish) to help.


  1. Exciting and well needed ongoing support for Adopters and their children although of course I state the obvious. Will be interesting to see how my LA are using and plan to further use the ASF for support and ongoing training and development......I will be asking