Friday, 29 June 2012 3:06 PM
TACT is unsurprised by Adoption UK’s recent report on post adoption support
Surveying over 450 adopters, their report ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ highlights the severe issues facing adoptive parents in terms of post-adoption support.
Post adoption support is a legal requirement, ratified in the 2002 Adoption and Children Act. Yet, the legislation simply made it a requirement that support be available; it did not include any statutory guidance on how much support should be assigned or how the money should be spend.
A staggering 64% of respondents for Adoption UK’s survey were not informed by their agency that they were entitled to an assessment. More shockingly, over 20% had their request for an assessment either ignored or refused. Similarly, of the 81% of adopters surveyed, only 31% received the identified services in full. Similarly, of the 61% who required therapeutic services, only 28% received this.
This is a huge failing on behalf of local authorities and, ultimately, the Government. Most children in care are so because they have suffered abuse or neglect with their birth families. The ‘relinquished’ healthy babies of the 50s and 60s are few and far between now. Adopted children, and their families, are likely to be faced with many emotional and physical challenges, due to the impact of those chaotic early years.
Additionally, adoptive parents qualify for a weekly allowance until the child is 18 (or a lump sum, if preferred). However, unlike a fostering allowance, this is means tested. As the estimated average cost per child per year for post adoption support is approximately £2, 8205, it seem churlish to means test families on expensive, vital services.
Whilst these services are a great expense for adoptive families, they are small change in comparison to the costs associated with state care of children. The average annual cost of looking after a child in care stands at an average of £56,226 per year. It makes basic financial sense for local authorities to be spending money on providing post adoption support to a child in a secure adoption.
Post adoption support and services were noticeably overlooked in the Government’s Adoption Action Plan. If they are determined to pursue adoption single-mindedly (whilst ignoring other successful permanence options),it is essential that they start considering the vital need for improvements to post adoption support. TACT would suggest, as a minimum, increased obligatory support be ratified within statutory guidelines, thus demonstrating commitment to the on going support necessary for adopted children.