New research into the Centre for Adoption Support, has highlighted the importance of on-going access to specialist services for families, not just at the time of adoption but for “as long as it takes”.
Experts in adoption were amongst 100 attendees including local authority representatives, adoptive families, academics and sector professionals at the Centre for Adoption Support Conference, held at the Warrington Peace Centre on Friday 6 March.
The conference highlighted the work of a partnership project provided by two long established charities, Adoption Matters & Caritas Care – The Centre for Adoption Support (CFAS). The Centre works together with local authorities to provide specialised adoption support services for families throughout the North West who have adopted through Adoption Matters, Caritas Care, Cheshire West and Chester, Warrington, Wigan and St Helens councils.
During the conference, delegates listened to a video message from Edward Timpson, Minister for Children and Families, who commented: “How long does an adoptive child need support for? The answer is, as long as it takes.”
Professor Elizabeth Harlow of the University of Chester reported early findings from their research into the Centre’s work, concluding that after only six months, all of the respondent families involved in the project reported improvements in their child’s emotional and behavioural needs, that parents felt well supported and crises were averted by accessing the centre’s support and training services.
Key learnings were that children may need additional help even when adopted at a young age and that, though resourceful, parents may be in great distress and require assistance. Services promised were provided by The Centre for Adoption Support and were well received, resulting in a positive impact.
Dr Matt Woolgar, Clinical Psychologist from the South London & Maudsley Hospital, which provides the widest range of mental health services in the UK, spoke about his partnership work with the Centre and how they are working together to develop a model that can be used in the North West.
The conference also heard from adoptive parents who shared their experiences and talked about how the Centre has supported them during the adoption process. Nicola & David* spoke about the bespoke ‘family finding’ service offered by the centre, describing the on-going support they received as a ‘lifesaver’.
The conference was held one day after the Government’s announcement that from May 2015 the Adoption Support Fund will be available nationally to all adopters* allowing adopters to access support services.
CFAS supports families in partnership with local authorities with a tailored package of adoption support depending on the child and family’s needs. Families are supported at any stage in their adoption, whether at the time a child first moves in or 10 years later.
Norman Goodwin, Chief Executive of Adoption Matters commented: “The ethos of the Centre is ‘not one size fits all’ as all families and children are different. Staff work closely with families to ensure that they get the right support and training which is tailored for each family. We’re glad to say that this approach has proved to deliver results, as we’ve been able to demonstrate at the conference.”
About the Adoption Support Fund
- The ASF will be available for children up to and including the age of 18 (or 25 with an Statement of Special Educational Needs or Education Health & Care Plan) who have been adopted from local authority care in England or adopted from Wales but living in England
- To access the Adopters Support Fund, adopters will need to have an assessment of their families’ adoption support needs by the local authority. This is a current legal obligation of all local authorities.
- The local authority that places the child with adopters is responsible for assessing adoption support needs for three years after the adoption. After three years it becomes the responsibility of the local authority where adopters now live (if different).
- Where the social worker identifies that therapeutic services would be beneficial to your family, they will apply to the Fund on your behalf, who will release funding to the local authority.