Adoption Support Fund

What is it?

The Adoption Support Fund (ASF) is a fund established in 2015 to help pay for essential therapy services for adoptive families as and when they need it. The ASF is available for children up to and including the age of 18 or 25 with a special educational needs statement or an education, health and care plan. It is for children who have been adopted from Local Authority (LA) care in England or adopted from Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland but living in England and for whom the English LAs bear the statutory responsibility to assess.

LAs are able to submit applications for funding before an Adoption Order so that any package of support from the time of placement can be continued once the Adoption Order is made. In 2016 /17 the fund is being extended to include packages of work that take place prior to the Adoption Order being made.

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What is the local experience?

In the first year of the operation of the Adoption Support Fund, Brighton and Hove Adoption Service secured £86,000 in funding, through 36 successful applications. We built on our experience with the fund and in 2016/17 we made 96 successful applications to the ASF. We are looking forward to helping more families access the support they need as they help their children to make the most of their lives..

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How can I access the ASF as a parent?

To access the ASF, you will need to have an assessment of your family’s adoption support needs by the local authority. This is a current legal obligation of all local authorities.

The local authority that placed the child with you is responsible for assessing your adoption support needs for three years after the adoption order. After three years it becomes the responsibility of the local authority where you live (if different).

Where the assessment identifies that therapeutic services would be helpful to your family, the local authority will apply to the Fund on your behalf, who will then release funding to the local authority.

We will talk to you about who can provide the types of services that you need and which provider you would prefer. You may have somebody in mind when you approach us or you may need some support in identifying who would be right for you and your family.

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How can I help a family I work with access the ASF

For an initial consultation with an Adoption Social Worker:

Email us at or
Telephone the Front Door for Families on 01273 290400 during working hours (9am to 5pm, Monday to Thursday and 9.00am to 4.30pm on Fridays).

If you want to talk about a particular family or child, please ensure that you have their consent to do so before you contact us.

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What will the ASF pay for?

The ASF provides money for a range of therapeutic services that are identified to help achieve these positive outcomes for you and your child:

  • Improved relationships with friends, family members, teachers and school staff
  • Improved engagement with learning
  • Improved emotional regulation and behaviour management
  • Improved confidence and ability to enjoy a positive family life and social relationships.

To achieve these outcomes the Fund will pay for therapeutic support and services including but not restricted to:

The purpose of the adoption support assessment is to explore with you what you believe and we assess will work best for your child and your family.

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How does the process work?

Email us at  or
Telephone the Front Door for Families on 01273 290400 during working hours (9am to 5pm, Monday to Thursday and 9.00am to 4.30pm on Fridays).

Speak with the duty social worker to tell them that you would like us to carry out an adoption support assessment in order to help you access services through the adoption support fund.

Follow this link to see how an adoption support assessment works and what is involved.

If the assessment concludes that an application to the ASF is suitable, the Social Worker will make the application to the fund. The ASF will process the application and come back to us for more information if they need it so we may need to get in touch with you again to help us with that. Once the application for funding is agreed, the ASF pay the funds to the Local Authority and we pay these to the provider of the therapeutic service over the course of the work.

If you need to extend the work, we would then update your adoption support assessment and make a new application.

There are no limits to the number of applications we can make for a family as long as the annual amount comes within the fair access limit and that we can show that the therapeutic intervention will lead to the agreed and hoped for outcome.

  • Therapeutic Parenting Training
  • Complex assessments (e.g. multi disciplinary assessment including education and health, cognitive and neuropsychological assessment, other mental health needs assessment).
  • Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy
  • Theraplay
  • Filial therapies
  • Creative therapies e.g. art, music, drama, play
  • Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR)
  • Non Violent Resistance (NVR)
  • Sensory Integration therapy / Sensory Attachment Therapy
  • Multi Systemic Therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Specialist clinical assessments when needed (e.g. Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder)
  • Extensive life story work with a therapeutic intervention (where therapy is used to help the young person understand and cope with the trauma and difficulties that their life story work might revisit)
  • Respite Care (where it is part of a therapeutic intervention).

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