Adoption Support Passport Menu
You are entitled to adoption leave when your child is placed with you. This is equal to maternity and paternity leave provisions and you should ask your employer for their adoption leave policy. You may also be entitled to statutory adoption pay.
You are entitled to time off from employment to meet your child and during introductions before they are placed with you. From 5th April 2015 you may also be entitled to Shared Parental Leave.
As an adopter you may have priority for council housing.
If you are already living in council housing and claiming housing benefit or universal credit while being assessed to adopt or waiting for a child to move in you can also apply for Discretionary Payments so that you are not penalised financially while you have an empty spare room.
If you already have children in your family and you live in publicly funded or publicly owned housing, then, if your adopted child needs their own room because of the impact of their experiences before they lived with you, you may be entitled to DHP to assist with this.
Being matched with your child
You are entitled to a summary of your child’s health from his or her local authority’s medical adviser before he or she is placed with you.
It is a requirement for any child with a plan for adoption to have an Adoption Medical Report provided by the Agency Medical Advisor prior to the final care plan of adoption being submitted to the Court. These are in addition to the LAC Health Records.
Adopters already have full access to records about the child they are being matched with, and have the opportunity, where there are particular medical issues either for the child or within the birth family, to meet with the Medical Advisor to talk about these more fully and have the opportunity to ask questions and seek further information.
This is well established practice within Brighton and Hove where we run an open files policy in recognition of the fact that you will be the child's parent(s) and you should know all that we know about your child.
Having your child placed for adoption with you
You are entitled to a lifestory book to help your child understand his or her early life. In Brighton and Hove we believe that you should be involved in preparing the book or lifestory information in a way that will suit you and your family, it is, after all the story of two families coming together. We will provide you with a child-friendly narrative to give you the words that you will need to prepare a book. We will also give you photographs and other memorabilia and we will help you through workshops and social work support if you need us to, to tell your child about how they came to live with you and where they came from. For further information see Brighton and Hove's Lifestory Policy.
Once your child is placed with you and after you become their legal parents
You are entitled to ask for support for your child any time until their 18th birthday. The Adoption and Children Act 2002 places a clear responsibility on Local Authorities to asses the needs of adoptive families. Adoption Support Assessments and interventions are provided by Brighton and Hove Adoption Team.
Adoption Support FAQs
If I need support from the Adoption Team what should I do?
The first thing to do is to contact us via the Adoption Support Helpline which runs every Monday and Thursday morning from 9.30 to 12.30. You can phone the helpline by calling our usual number 01273 295455 and ask to be put through to the Adoption Support Helpline. Alternatively you can email Adoption.SupportHelpline@brighton-hove.gov.uk and ask for advice or a call back.
What if I need support urgently?
Still email the helpline or phone in and leave a message. The Helpline inbox is checked daily.
What can I talk to the Helpline worker about?
Anything to do with adoption. You might want help to think about:
- your child’s behaviour
- attachment issues
- your feelings about your child or their birth family
- how to talk to your child about being adopted
- any other life story issues
- your child’s contact needs
- how to manage social media
- how to link with other adoptive families
- any other adoption related topic
What happens next?
You might find that a conversation has answered your query, signposted you to another service or has given you some ideas for things to try. You and the social worker might agree that there are more complex issues and you would like a further assessment. Sometimes the family issues are not really about adoption e,g you might have a concern that is more about a child’s disability or about managing teenagers’ substance misuse. In these kinds of cases we will, with your consent, make a referral to the suitable service. This may be via Brighton and Hove's Early Help Hub.
If there are clearly adoption related issues which need more thinking about, we will carry out an Adoption Support Assessment.
Adoption Support Assessments
The Adoption and Children Act 2002 places a clear responsibility on Local Authorities to assess the needs of adoptive families for support services. This can be at any time until the child’s 18th birthday.
You are entitled to an Adoption Support Assessment from Brighton & Hove if:
- you live in Brighton & Hove and adopted a child from this Authority,-
- you live in Brighton & Hove and you adopted a child from another Authority more than 3 years ago.
- you live outside Brighton and Hove but your child was placed by this Authority and the Adoption Order was made less than 3 years ago.
*NB: the 3 years are counted from when the Adoption Order was made, not from when the child was placed with you.
If you live in Brighton & Hove but your child was placed less than three years ago by another Authority, please apply to that Local Authority to request an Adoption Support Assessment.
How does an Adoption Support Assessment work?
You will be allocated a social worker who will make contact with you and arrange an initial appointment. This could be at your home or in our office. This first appointment will be for you as parents and your children will not be involved.
At this appointment there will be opportunities to talk about the issues in more depth and to think together about what needs to change in order to make your family situation work better for you all. The social worker might, with your permission, talk to other agencies like education or health to understand the context more fully. She might also get access to your child’s birth records in order to understand how the child’s early experiences impact on them.
If you agree, the social worker might also do some assessment work with the child, in order to help understand more about the family situation and to gain the child’s wishes and feelings. When all the information has been gathered the social worker will write up the Adoption Support Assessment and make some recommendations about further work. You will receive a copy of the Assessment and will have a chance to talk about this with the social worker.
What happens once the Adoption Support Assessment is completed?
Sometimes the assessment itself can be enough – it might help you to understand enough about what is happening in your family that you can make the changes needed without any further support. Alternatively the assessment might lead to a referral to another agency.
The outcome of the assessment might be to draw up and Adoption Support Plan with you which will set out a plan of intervention from the Adoption Team and other services.
This might include:
- attachment based parent consultation sessions
- Safe Base therapeutic parenting programme,
- individual support with lifestory work
- occasional direct work with children or young people
- theraplay-based interventions with your family
What is an Adoption Support plan?
An Adoption Support plan is a written plan that will be drawn up and agreed with you setting out the services that will be offered. This will set out what outcomes we are trying to achieve with you and your family, and what work will be offered to achieve these outcomes. There will also be timescales for the work to be completed or reviewed.
What if I don’t agree with what the assessment says?
We hope that you will agree with the assessment because we will have worked together with you on it. If you disagree with the recommendations from the assessment please talk about it with your social worker. If you are not happy with the response please phone 01273 295455 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and your email will be passed on to a manager.
How does an Adoption Support Assessment link in to other assessments about my child and my family?
When we do an Adoption Support Assessment you, the adopter, is our client. This is very different from other Local Authority assessments when the child is the client. Because you are the client, you stay completely in control of the assessment. It is your decision how much or little to involve your children in the assessment. We will not continue with an assessment if you do not wish to continue at any time.
If during the assessment we think that your child or family has significant needs that go beyond what we can offer in the Adoption Team, we will talk to you about a referral to the Early Help Hub . This is the gateway for family mentoring, intensive family support and youth interventions. We will only refer into this service if you agree.
The only situation in which we might make a referral against your will would be if we thought you or your child was suffering or at risk of suffering significant harm. We would then have a duty to refer into the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) for children’s safeguarding issues or Adult Social Care for adult safeguarding concerns.
Do I have to go through a whole assessment process if I just want to go to a group or a workshop?
No. Many of our activities and workshops are advertised via mailouts or our newsletter and you can make direct applications to come to them without an assessment. If you want more information about activities that are coming up, please contact the Adoption Support Helpline on 01273 295455 or Adoption.SupportHelpline@brighton-hove.gov.uk. Alternatively you can find information in the adopters-only section of the site.
Adoption Support Services
Brighton and Hove Adoption and Permanence Team provides a range of services for adoptive families and adopted children.
Brighton and Hove Adopters' Register
We encourage all adoptive families who live in Brighton and Hove to place your details on our Adopters' Register. You will receive regular mail outs with information about forthcoming social and training events and groups as well as updates on policy developments around adoption. It is also through the Register that you will have opportunities to provide feedback on services and get involved in supporting new adopters and talking at information days and prep groups.
If you are an adoptive family and you want to join the register or are not sure whether you are on it or not, please contact email@example.com
Safe Base Therapeutic Parenting Programme
Brighton and Hove has a partnership with After Adoption to provide the Safe Base Therapeutic Parenting Programme. This programme is open to all families eligible to receive an adoption support assessment from Brighton and Hove. If you are not eligible for a place through Brighton and Hove you might still be able to come if your place is funded through your child's placing authority. This programme is extremely popular and now runs twice a year. We are booking up to a year ahead and it is suitable for families who have had children placed with them for six months or more.
If you would like to apply for a place or need further information, please contact Sacha.Hebden@brighton-hove.gov.uk
Allocated Social Worker
After an Adoption Support Assessment, you may be allocated a social worker from the Adoption Team to work with you and your family. This may be to provide attachment - based parent consultations, parenting support, support with life story work or complex contact issues, or any other adoption related issues. You and the social worker will plan together what you want to change and the work will be regularly reviewed. We aim for all work to be time-limited but each piece of work is approached flexibly and decisions will be made by you and the social worker together about how long you need our involvement. If you would like support from a social worker please begin by contacting Adoption.SupportHelpline@brighton-hove.gov.uk.
Many of our social workers are Theraplay trained and we able to provide Theraplay-based interventions to families. Further information about Theraplay is available here.
We run a weekly drop-in group for parents and children under 5. This is a great way to meet up with other adopters and to gain informal support from our experienced staff.
We support the LGBT Adopters' group which meets regularly.
We have other short life groups e.g children's groups which run intermittently.
For further information about any of these groups please contact Adoption.SupportHelpline@brighton-hove.gov.uk
Funday and Summer Picnic
At present we run two annual social gatherings for adoptive families. These events are open to all families who live in Brighton and Hove or who have children placed through Brighton and Hove at any time. If you are on the Adopters' Register you will automatically receive information about these events. We are now considering how to extend our events to appeal more to older young people. If you have any ideas, please contact Adoption.SupportHelpline@brighton-hove.gov.uk
Training and Workshops
We run a range of training and workshops for adopters including 'Talking to your Child about Adoption' and education support workshops. All workshops are advertised in our newsletters and bulletins to the Adopters' Register. If you have any ideas for workshops that you would like to see run, please contact Adoption.SupportHelpline@brighton-hove.gov.uk
Financial Support can be provided on the basis of adoption specific need, after an adoption support assessment and financial means test.
All children placed by Brighton and Hove have a supported letterbox (information exchange between adoptive family and birth family through an intermediary) arrangement put in place for them at the point of placement. Arrangements are reviewed after each exchange; there is a formal requirement within regulations to actively review this indirect contact on a three yearly basis until the child reaches the age of 18. Direct contact (meetings in person with the birth parents, child and their adoptive parents) are also supported by the Adoption Service. There is a requirement to review these arrangements on an annual basis.
A number of adoptive families will manage their own direct contact arrangements over time, allowing the adoption team to step back.
Education for Adopted Children
Special Educational Needs and Disability
Special Educational Needs
Brighton & Hove City Council, health services and all partners are committed to working together to support the needs of children and young people with special educational needs and/or disability and their families.
If you think your child may have special educational needs you can ask your local authority to assess these needs. All information about how to access SEN services can be found at Brighton and Hove's Local Offer. This provides clear and accessible information about provision that Brighton and Hove expects to be locally available for our children and young people from birth to 25 who have special educational needs and/or a disability.
Where an adopted child has a statement of Special Educational Needs, or an Education, Health and Care Plan, the Special Educational Needs Team will maintain the Statement for the placing authority. The Team can be contacted on: Telephone 01273- 293552 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
You may want some independent help and advice in thinking through the range of issues facing you and your child as you try to ensure that you have the best support available.
Amaze is a Brighton and Hove charity that provides information, advice and support to parents and carers of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). This can also include children and young people with mental health issues and attachment difficulties. We also support some young people with SEND themselves.
If your adopted child also has special educational needs or disabilities, Amaze provides these services:
- A helpline providing advice on topics including benefits, education, health, leisure and social care.
- A wealth of information, including the handbooks ‘Through the Maze’ and ‘Through the Next Maze, along with a range of factsheets, a termly newsletter and a regular e-bulletin, with all information available through the website.
- ‘The Compass’, the city’s disability register of children with significant additional needs aged 0 to 25; all children on the Compass get a Compass Card, a free leisure incentive card which provides discounts and special offers across the city.
- Free courses and workshops providing practical help with the additional challenges parents can face in raising a child with special educational needs or disabilities.
- Advice and hands-on help with DLA and PIP applications and other related benefits
- The local Information, Advice and Support service, helping parents get the right support for their child in pre-school, school and further education. We can also give some one-to-one support on health and social care.
- The Independent Support Service offering extra individual help for parents AND young people during process of getting an Education, Health and Care Plan.
- Preparing for Adulthood volunteers supporting parents of teenagers to help their young people make a smoother transition to adulthood. We also run information sessions and hold regular ‘Parents with Teens’ get-togethers.
- Amaze also supports the PaCC (Parent Carers’ Council), committed to helping parents influence local services and policy-making. PaCC participates in many consultation initiatives and support parents to take part.
Amaze Helpline: 01273 772289
Open Monday to Thursday, 9.30 am to 12 noon
Tuesday to 12 noon to 5.00pm and Thursday 5.30pm to 8.00pm (term-time only)
All adoptive families will be offered an assessment by CAMHS within four weeks of a referral being made. CAMHS welcomes referrals from parents as well as schools, GPs and other professionals. For more information about how to make a referral see Brighton and Hove’s CAMHS web page
If you are making a referral please tell us clearly on the form that your child is adopted and how long she or he has been living with you. Make sure you include information about the child’s current difficulties as well as factors about the child’s early history.
The initial assessment appointment will be for parents and will include a discussion of the family difficulties. A care plan will be agreed for moving on. A decision will be made about whether therapy from CAMHS is suitable. If so you will be given information about who will do the work with your family or child and timescales for starting. It may be more suitable that a referral is made to a different service, in which case CAMHS can support with this.
CAMHS is able to offer play therapy, family therapy, individual therapy and Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy. All our CAMHS practitioners have had training in attachment and many have specialist knowledge and experience of the needs of adoptive families. We are happy to see children with special needs.
For further information about what CAMHS can offer, please call 01273 718680.
If you need to contact CAMHS outside of office hours, or during weekends or Bank Holidays, please call the Sussex Mental Health Line on 0300 5000 101.
Independent Adopters' Group
An independent group is being developed by and for adoptive families. The group has some start up funding from Brighton and Hove to develop adopters' ideas to support adoptive families locally. More news to follow as it progresses. If you would like to get involved please contact Adoption.SupportHelpline@brighton-hove.gov.uk who will pass your details on to the group.
Adoption Support Fund
From 1st May 2015 Local Authorities will be able to apply for funding for therapeutic services for adopted children and families. Further information is available here. Applications to this fund are made via an Adoption Support Assessment. Please contact Adoption.SupportHelpline@brighton-hove.gov.uk for further information.
- First 4 Adoption
- After Adoption
- Adoption Uk
- New Family Social
- Louise Bomber's Yellow Kite
- Brighton and Hove Family Services Directory
- Let's Learn Together, very useful booklet from Northern Ireland about supporting adopted children's education
- An Introduction to Attachment and the implications for Learning and Behaviour, a training guide from Bath Spa including video links