APPG for Adoption and Permanence holds evidence sessions in Parliament

Following its hugely successful consultation survey, the APPG for Adoption and Permanence has now held two Parliamentary evidence sessions into the future of the Adoption Support Fund.

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Following its hugely successful consultation survey, the APPG for Adoption and Permanence has now held two Parliamentary evidence sessions into the future of the Adoption Support Fund. As co-secretariat to the group (alongside Adoption UK), Home for Good was pleased to be part of organising the sessions and hearing from the expert panellists in attendance.

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Panellists included an adopted young person, adoptive parents, academic researchers, clinicians, government officials, social workers, representatives from adoption agencies and others. The evidence given at the sessions built upon that gathered through the APPG’s survey which heard from over 1600 individuals including more than 200 children and young people.

All speakers at the evidence sessions spoke overwhelmingly positively about the impact the fund has had over the past four years and shared story after story of families and young people whose lives had benefitted from the support offered through the fund.

As well as voicing their support for the fund to be retained beyond July 2020, speakers also shared some of the challenges of the fund and barriers that had limited its usefulness.

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Barriers included delays in applications being submitted to the fund, inappropriate expectations on social workers to make clinical judgements on suitable interventions for families, and the impact of the fair access limit on families accessing, or applying for, group therapy work.

Alongside these critiques, speakers were creative in suggesting improvements to the future of the fund, including how to use joined-up, multidisciplinary approaches to making decisions, broaden out the types of therapy accessible through the fund, and ringfence funding to reduce the bureaucratic burden on social work professionals.

Officers of the group, including the Chair Rachael Maskell MP, Lord Russell of Liverpool and Fiona Bruce MP, were evidently impacted by the information and testimonies shared and were actively engaged in bringing clarity and depth to discussions. At the end of the second session Rachael Maskell MP announced that the group would be producing a report in July summarising the findings of the inquiry and making recommendations for the Government to consider ahead of the comprehensive spending review in the Autumn.

The consistent message throughout these evidence sessions was clear; the fund, whilst imperfect, remains a vital source of much-needed therapeutic support for adoptive and special guardianship families that cannot be found elsewhere. Whilst improvements would be of benefit, the possibility that it could be stopped is unthinkable and would be both short-sighted and detrimental to vulnerable children and their families across England.

Author:
Natalie Hunter-Mills


Date published:
31 May 2019


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