As an adoptive parent, you may need help when the child moves in with you or at any point in the future. This can be emotional, financial, therapeutic or practical support.
What is support?
A wide range of support is available for you, your family and adopted child. It can include adoption leave and pay, financial support, therapeutic support for your child and help with parenting or with your child’s education.
The NHS website provides a useful summary of the type of support you may be entitled to and where you can access it.
For me, every aspect of therapy has been worth it because of all the support and practical advice we have had. [Our therapist] was able to explain behaviour that seemed outrageous and beyond our understanding.
Ruth, adoptive parent, Together in time
To find out more about the different therapies and therapeutic parenting programmes that are available to support you with parenting your child if they have complex needs, read The adopter's handbook on therapy.
Under adoption legislation local authorities are legally required to provide support services for all adoptive families, either themselves, or by arrangement with specialist services.
For information about the adoption passport and support available in England, visit First4Adoption.
The Adoption Support Fund
Adopters in England can have access through their social worker to the Adoption Support Fund (ASF), which was established to help families access funds for therapeutic support.
The ASF is available for children living in England up to and including the age of 21 (or 25 with a Statement of Special Educational Needs or Education Health & Care Plan) who:
- are adopted and were previously in local authority care in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland
- are adopted from overseas
- are subject to a Special Guardianship Order
To access the ASF, you will need to first be assessed by the local authority, which is legally obliged to look at your family’s adoption support needs. Often you will still be in contact with the agency that placed your child, perhaps via social events or other forms of communication, but if you need help more than three years after your child was adopted you can also ask for help from the local authority where you live.
The ASF will provide money for a range of therapeutic services if it is shown that they can help achieve positive outcomes for you and your child, such as:
- 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
Find out more about the Adoption Support Fund on the First4Adoption website.
A number of organisations offer support, counselling or therapeutic services across the UK, such as:
You can also join independent members’ organisations which provide support to adopters. These include:
- Adoption UK, founded by adoptive parents to offer support, information, advice and encouragement to prospective and established adopters, also offers an online forum and advice line.
- New Family Social, the UK network for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) adoptive and foster families.
Books and publications
CoramBAAF produces a large number of books and other resources about adoption and parenting an adopted child. Visit our bookshop to find out more.