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The Post Adoption Support Challenge Hugh Thornbery CEO Adoption UK and Chair of the Adoption Support Fund Expert Advisory Group.

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Presentation on theme: "The Post Adoption Support Challenge Hugh Thornbery CEO Adoption UK and Chair of the Adoption Support Fund Expert Advisory Group."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Post Adoption Support Challenge Hugh Thornbery CEO Adoption UK and Chair of the Adoption Support Fund Expert Advisory Group

2 What I’m going to cover Who we are and our constituency What adopters say and want What the Adoption Support Fund is trying to achieve and how A strategic approach to adoption support

3 Adoption UK – Background Established in 1971 Set up by adopters – for adopters A membership organisation A charity providing information, support, training and advice Children Who Wait – matching children with adoptive families UK-wide with offices in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

4 What adopters say Pre placement 67% of prospective adopters said guaranteed ongoing support was key to whether they would proceed. An AUK survey in 2013 of adopters and prospective adopters found that over half had never even had a needs assessment. Prospective adopters Pre placement Little or no pre placement therapeutic and other support to prepare children for adoption and to identify their specific ongoing support needs. Evidence shows early intervention is critical in supporting improved long term outcomes for adopted children, particularly those who are harder to place. Children waiting for adoption Placement Adopters report that at placement there is a lack of clear information about children’s needs and about the ongoing support they will be able to access. Post adoption Recent research by Julie Selwyn shows that for adoptive families: Around 33% say adoption is manageable Around 33% face challenges, and Around 33% face severe difficulties or their children leave home prematurely. Yet over a third of adopters expected their placement to break down before they could access the support they thought they were entitled to. Current gaps identified by adopters and the sector: Needs assessments for children and transparency around difficulties Peer/expert support and mentoring to prepare adopters Adopters included as an equal partner in the process Clear, deliverable and empowering ongoing adoption support User friendly signposting, reliable advice on service quality to inform choice

5 The Adoption Support Fund “The new Adoption Support Fund will be a lifeline for many adoptive families, helping them to access specialist services when their family needs them most. I also hope it will reassure parents thinking about embarking on the hugely rewarding journey of adoption that if challenges do arise, they will no longer be left alone to cope.” The Prime Minister in launching the Adoption Support Fund, 11 September 2013

6 The Adoption Support Fund Key issues are being considered –What level of need exists? –What services are currently provided? –What do we know about what works? –Scope – what the Fund should pay for –Assessment – how best to assess need –How to implement personal budgets –How to develop the adoption support market –How to secure long-term funding

7 Adoption Support Fund Some of our challenges: –A disruption to current systems –Ensuring that the Fund meets future needs –Developing a “typology” of needs and responses to need –Building an evidence base –Avoiding unintended consequences –Ensuring the additive nature of the Fund –Relationships with CAMHS, Pupil Premium and EHC Plans

8 Adoption Support Fund Prototypes 10 LAs, chosen against criteria Making a difference for families very quickly Emerging issues around assessment, market, scope Informing strategy for national implementation

9 Some thinking about implementation Can we think about roll out at a LA level? 50% of children are placed out of borough Marked differences in likely demand between, for example, London boroughs and County Councils How do we begin to measure need, response to need and outcomes better?

10 A framework for intervention Most adoptive children need ongoing specialist support. Only a third of adoptive families show no or low difficulty post adoption Almost all adoptive children need specialist support to succeed. 66% of adoptive families show some or extreme post adoption need. Increased Level of Need Targeted Without ongoing support there is a natural pull towards higher difficulty for adoptive children over time Our model recognises children’s difficulties early, providing sustained support for children and adoptive parents. Low Level of Need Universal High Level of Need Therapeutic

11 In conclusion A paradigm shift in thinking about support Local needs and demand will vary considerably We have additional resources – we must use them well Co-production with adopters must be the route to getting this right What works here is transferable to other children

12 Thank you


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